Sri Lankan Love Cake

For my last birthday, my foodie brother bought me a subscription to The Spicery. Each month a package of spices and a recipe pops through our letterbox. The recipes are sometimes quite involved, but we’ve been really impressed with the depth of flavour in each dish. They don’t hold any punches with the chilli either!

We’ve also had a few dessert recipes, but despite my well-documented love of pudding (check out #fruitisnotapudding), it’s unusual that we would make a pud for just the 3 of us, so I had been itching for an occasion to try out this particularly delicious-sounding cake. Coffee morning with my mummy friends was a perfect excuse. I wanted to write the recipe down (more for my own records than yours!) because I had to make substantial alterations to it to make it suitable for my diet (gluten free), our daughter’s (dairy free), and a visiting friend with a nut allergy; so I think it’s pretty much a new recipe, and one which I’m sure I’ll make again. (Sri Lankan Love cake is apparently normally make with semolina, cashews, and rich with butter).

It reminds me just a little of the sweet treats and delicacies we tried when travelling in the Middle East (delicately aromatic without the cloying sweetness of rose water), and makes me want to visit Sri Lanka even more than I already did. One for the travel wishlist!



  • 125g coconut butter (or dairy free margarine)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 50g gluten free self raising flour (I used Doves Farm blend)
  • 125g polenta (fine is best, but coarse works well too)
  • 100g finely chopped cashew nuts or 75g desiccated coconut (tempted to try pistachios next time!)
  • The zest of one lemon
  • 2 tsp mixed spice (I would also like to try a little cardamom)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • A large handful of dried edible rose petals


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°c (fan), oil and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the butter and half of the honey (1 tbsp) together.
  3. Whisk the eggs and 100g of the sugar with an electric whisk until it has increased in volume slightly. Add the melted butter and whisk to combine.
  4. Stir in the flour, polenta, coconut/nuts, lemon zest and mixed spice.
  5. When combined, pour into the baking tin and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted to the centre comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, place the cinnamon sticks, half the rose petals, remaining sugar, honey and 100ml water into a small pan. Place on the hob and heat until boiling, then remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool and infuse.
  7. When the cake is cooked, strain the syrup over the whole cake whilst still hot. Allow to cool a while, before removing to finish cooling on a rack. Decorate with the remaining rose petals
  8. Serve in small squares with a fork – would be delicious with a dollop of thick coconut yogurt or clotted cream.


2 responses to “Sri Lankan Love Cake

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