Temp: Preheated 350 F Center rack
Bake Time: 20-23 minutes
Three 9-inch round cake pans
Serves 12
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Persian
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg (room temp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup (2 ½ ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2 TBSP for dusting the pans
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (room temp)
  • ¾ cup sour cream (room temp)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese (leave unopened in room temperature for 2 hours)
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 TBSP rosewater, may substitute with 1 tsp vanilla extract (for a total of 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract)
  • ⅛ tsp vanilla powder or ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup unsalted pistachio (divided- ¼ for the filling, 2 TBSP as garnish for the top)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate coarsely chopped, I use Baker’s semisweet chocolate
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F center rack
  3. Line the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper leaving two 2-3 inch paper extensions at two opposite ends of the circle to be used for the ease of releasing the cake after it bakes.
  4. Grease the bottom and sides of the pans with butter flavor Crisco shortening (I have found this product to be the best for this purpose). Place the parchment paper circles with extensions inside the pans. Grease the paper. Dust the pans lightly with cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is used instead of the flour for a more even rich color and easy release of the cake.
  5. In a small bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk to combine well. Set aside.
  6. In another small bowl whisk the buttermilk and sour cream until smooth, set aside.
  7. Add the sugar and butter to the large bowl of a stand mixer. Use the beater attachment to cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop once to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  8. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  9. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk mixture, each time beat only to combine. Begin and end this addition with the flour mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Stop once and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl carefully. Make sure the flour and butter are blended in very well.
  10. Divide the batter equally between the 3 pans (about 14 ounces in each pan)
  11. Bake in preheated oven for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick is fine.
  12. Wash and dry the bowl very well. Chill the bowl and the whisk attachment in the refrigerator.
  13. Cool the cakes in the pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Hold the paper extensions, lift off the pan and peel off the paper. Cool the cakes completely before filling.
  15. Coarsely chop the semisweet chocolate and add it to a small heat proof glass bowl.
  16. In small heavy bottomed saucepan combine ¾ cup heavy cream, 1 TBSP butter, and 1 TBSP sugar. Heat over medium low until the sugar dissolves and butter melts and the cream just comes to a very low boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes without disturbing it, then stir until very smooth. Set aside for about 10 minutes to cool a bit. The ganache should be lukewarm and at a pouring consistency. If it gets too thick, microwave it in 10 second increments until smooth.
  18. Coarsely chop the unsalted pistachios. Set aside. Reserve 2 TBSP for the garnish.
  19. Add the heavy cream and 2 TBSP sugar to the chilled bowl. Whip at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add 1 TBSP rosewater and ¼ tsp vanilla powder or ½ tsp vanilla extract. (If you decide to use vanilla extract instead of the rose water, add 1 ½ tsp of vanilla extract).
  20. Increase the speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form.
  21. In a medium bowl add the mascarpone cheese that has been sitting out for 2 hours. Use a spatula to gently stir the mascarpone cheese.
  22. Fold in (do not beat) the whipped cream in small amounts to the mascarpone cheese until well combined.
  23. Fold in the remaining chopped pistachios.
  25. This cake is very moist, don’t lift the layers. Gently slide one of the layers right off the cooling rack onto the platter. Spread ¼ cup of the ganache evenly on it.
  26. Top the cake with half of the mascarpone filling and spread evenly. Slide the second cake layer on top of the filling and spread with ¼ cup of the ganache.
  27. Add the rest of the mascarpone filling on the cake and spread evenly. Top the cake with the last layer and pour the rest of the ganache on it. Use a spatula to spread the ganache evenly on top and allow it to drip down the sides. Sprinkle 2 TBSP coarsely chopped pistachios on top of the cake.
  28. This cake may be enjoyed immediately or stored in the refrigerator. Ganache will get harder when chilled but it still tastes amazing. If you wish to soften the ganache let the chilled cake sit in the room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
The extra cake may be frozen: Wrap it in parchment paper, then plastic, and place it in an airtight cake container. Defrost the frozen cake in the refrigerator one day ahead and then 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Unsalted pistachios and rosewater maybe purchased in most Middle Eastern Markets.
Recipe by Persian Mama at