Sri Lankan love cake with Turkish delight, mint ice-cream & ginger

Sri Lankan love cake with Turkish delight, mint ice-cream & ginger

Chris Middleton

This is an exotic dessert, drawing on Sri Lankan flavours. The semolina cake separates as it cooks and has a beautiful sticky, custardy layer on top. The liquid Turkish delight is so yummy you can just eat it on its own with a spoon! I love the freshness of the mint ice-cream.


Quantity Ingredient
6 pieces candied ginger, thinly sliced
60g chopped roasted cashew nuts
40g fresh pomegranate seeds
Mint ice-cream, to serve
snipped peppermint cress, to garnish

Love cake

Quantity Ingredient
125g semolina
65g unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 eggs, separated
250g caster sugar
100g chopped roasted cashew nuts
1 tablespoon rosewater
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
icing sugar, for dusting

Turkish delight sauce

Quantity Ingredient
420g caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
35g cornflour, mixed to a paste with 30 ml water
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, (see Note)
1 teaspoon rosewater


  1. For the love cake

    Preheat the oven to 150°C. Spray an 18 cm square cake tin with cooking oil spray and line with baking paper.
  2. Place the semolina on a baking tray and heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in the butter.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar together using a hand whisk until light and creamy. Add the semolina mixture and beat until combined. Add the cashews, rosewater, honey, lemon zest and spices and mix together.
  4. In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture, then pour into the cake tin.
  5. Bake for 50–60 minutes; if the top starts to get too brown, cover it with foil. This cake is very moist, so do not use the skewer test to check if it’s ready; instead, lightly jiggle the cake tin and make sure there is no runny batter.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to fully cool in the tin. Do not flip it out of the tin, as it’s quite sticky and delicate!
  7. When cooled, cut the cake into 18 nice diamonds. Remove from the tin and dust with a little icing sugar.
  8. For the Turkish delight sauce

    Put the sugar in a saucepan with 250 ml water and bring to the boil. Once the mixture has reached 120°C on a sugar thermometer, add the lemon juice. Cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the cornflour mixture.
  9. Now cook the mixture over low heat until the sauce starts to become a light caramel. Stir in the pomegranate molasses and rosewater, transfer to a container and leave to cool.
  10. To serve

    Arrange the cake pieces on a tray lined with baking paper and warm in a 160°C oven for 5 minutes.
  11. Smear a generous amount of Turkish delight sauce on the middle of six plates. Arrange three cake diamonds on the Turkish delight, with the pointed ends facing towards each other. Sprinkle the candied ginger, cashews and pomegranate seeds on top of the exposed Turkish delight.
  12. Place a nice scoop of mint ice-cream where all the cake points meet. Scatter with the peppermint cress and serve.


  • Pomegranate molasses is a sweet/sour syrup made by boiling and reducing pomegranate juice. It is used widely in Middle Eastern cookery.
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