Sri Lankan love cake

Spread the love ’round as you offer everyone a piece of this deliciously sweet, spicy cake. Traditionally baked for birthdays and celebrations, this nutty, slightly spiced cake is always made with love in Sri Lanka.


  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 375g raw unsalted cashews
  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 315g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 250g (1 1/3 cup) semolina
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) honey
  • 2 tea spoons rosewater
  • 1 tea spoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tea spoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tea spoon nutmeg
  • 4 egg whites
  • Icing sugar, to dust


Step 1

  • Preheat oven to 150°C. Brush a 20cm (base measurement) square cake pan with melted butter to grease. Line base and sides with non-stick baking paper.

Step 2

  • Place the cashews in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped.

Step 3

  • Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until very pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the cashew, semolina, honey, rosewater, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Step 4

  • Use a clean electric beater to beat the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until firm peaks form. Fold into semolina mixture.

Step 5

  • Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared pan. Bake in oven for 1 hour 10 minutes or until firm to the touch. Turn oven off. Leave the cake in the oven, with the door slightly ajar, to cool completely. Cut into pieces and dust with icing sugar to serve.