Peter Kuruvita shares his recipe for the classic Sri Lankan sweet treat called Love cake. Scented with nutmeg, cinnamon, honey and rosewater, it's perfect for afternoon tea. To make a gluten-free version of this cake, substitute the semolina with corn or rice semolina.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (159 votes)


  • 300 g semolina, lightly toasted
  • 125 g butter
  • 10 eggs, separated
  • 400 g caster sugar
  • ¼ cup grated crystallised pumpkin (see note)
  • 80 g honey
  • 185 g cashews, crushed
  • 2 tbsp rosewater
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 limes, zested
  • icing sugar, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat oven to 200°C.

Place the semolina and butter in a tray. Place in oven until the butter has melted.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the crystallised pumpkin. Stir in the honey and cashews. Add the rosewater and stir to combine. Add the nutmeg and cinnamon and stir until the mixture is pale.

In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture. Stir in the lime zest.

Add the semolina-butter mixture to the cake mixture. Pour into a tray lined with baking paper. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until firm to touch. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Dust with icing sugar and cut into slices to serve.

• Crystallised pumpkin is available at Sri Lankan grocers.