This Sri Lankan Love Cake Is My New Bake Love – You’ve Got to Try This!

Hey, have you ever had a taste of Sri Lankan Love Cake? I just tried it recently for the first time myself! My friend Nadee from Sri Lanka gave me this really simple recipe, and wow, it was amazing. It’s got this special blend of sweet and spicy flavors and the texture. Absolutely perfect – so moist and crumbly. I’m pretty sure you’re going to adore it just like I do.

Authentic Sri Lankan Love Cake

Let me tell you about the recipe for this Sri Lankan Love Cake that Nadee shared with me.

Sri Lankan Love Cake Ingredients:

Love is in The Air, In The Cake, and In The Ingredients.

ingredients for Sri Lankan love cake

Nadee explained to me that love cake is pretty much exactly what its name says—a cake made to celebrate love. That’s why it’s a must-have in every Sri Lankan celebration, including birthdays, weddings, and Christmas, and I will certainly make it this Valentine’s Day.

While there are many stories explaining the cake’s origins, no one knows the truth. Still, most agree it came to be after Portugal colonized Sri Lanka, as it combines Portuguese cooking techniques with Sri Lankan ingredients.

But don’t worry—most of these ingredients are very easy to find, and no trip to Sri Lanka required!

1. Semolina: Many people choose to use semolina straight from the bag, but Nadee insists that lightly toasting it enhances the flavor—and she’s right! Gently toasting gives semolina a richer aroma, you’ll see.

Semolina Flour 2lbs / 32oz, Fine Semolina Flour for Pasta, Pizza Dough, Cake Flour and Bread Flour, 100% Fine Ground All-Natural Durum Wheat From CANADA.


2. Butter: You want to control the salt in the cake, so opt for unsalted butter whenever you can. Leave it at room temperature before cooking because the recipe calls for softened butter.

3. Cashew nuts: They add a satisfying crunch and a delicious nutty flavor. You’ll need to chop them and then crush them into tiny pieces with a mortar or food processor, so it might be a good idea to do it beforehand.

4. Eggs: You need to separate egg whites and yolks. The recipe doesn’t call for baking soda or baking powder as leavening agents, so the cake will rise only with the help of the fluffy egg whites.

5. Brown Sugar: Using brown sugar in the cake adds extra moisture and a delicious yet subtle toffee-like flavor. Believe me—using white sugar isn’t the same!

6. Honey: The recipe doesn’t need much honey—just enough to add moisture and flavor. I think using high-quality honey really makes a big difference since it adds a subtle floral flavor rather than just plain sweetness.

7. Love Cake Spices: There are some must-have spices that every love cake needs, but each Sri Lankan family has its own traditional blend. The delicious cake that Nadee taught me calls for cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

8. Rose water: Romance needs roses, and a Sri Lankan love cake without rose water doesn’t have much love in it! It adds an elegant and fragrant floral touch that matches well with the honey.

Sadaf Rose Water Glass Bottle, 10 fl. oz.


9. Lime zest: Don’t worry, this isn’t a lemon cake. All you need is a pinch of zest to add some zing to each bite.

Here Is How To Make Sri Lankan Love Cake

Making Sri Lankan cake is way easier than you think! Nadee broke down the steps for me, and I’m happy to share them with you. Rest assured, this recipe is totally beginner-friendly and looks a lot more intimidating than it really is. You can also see the step-by-step process in the video below in the recipe card.

1. Toast the Semolina

toasting semolina

Pour the semolina into a pan and set it on low heat to lightly roast it. Be sure to stir frequently with a spatula to prevent burning on the hot spots.

You’ll know the semolina is done when it turns a light yellow color, similar to sand. Depending on your stove, this can take 3 to 6 minutes, so monitor it constantly.

If you’re unsure how your toasted semolina should look, check the YouTube video in the recipe card below!

2. Mix Semolina and Butter

mixing semolina and butter

After toasting, pour the semolina into a clean bowl and let it cool down for a bit. Once the semolina is no longer hot, mix in the softened butter at room temperature with a spatula.

The remaining warmth of the semolina will make it easier to mix and spread the butter, so fold until all the semolina has been coated and the mixture looks slightly crumbly.

3. Chop and Crush Cashew Nuts

chopping and crushing cashew nuts

Cut the cashew nuts using a sharp knife, then crush them with a mortar to make the crumbs as small as possible.

While this is the traditional way Nadee taught me, you can also speed up the process by using a food processor or a blender. If you want to be as efficient as possible, place the cashew nuts in a bag and crush them repeatedly until they’re fine crumbs.

Once done, set them aside—we’ll need them later!

4. Whisk Egg Whites

whisking the egg whites

Crack the eggs open and separate the whites from the yolks. Place the whites in a clean bowl, as even a little bit of fat can keep them from foaming.

Next, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until they increase in size and become fluffy and stiff, then set aside for now.

5. Mix Egg Yolks, Sugar, Honey, and Spices

mixing egg yolks sugar honey and spices

In a separate bowl, use a mixer to combine the egg yolks with the brown sugar until they turn creamy and smooth. The color should shift from a dark yellow to a much paler shade, and the sugar should be mostly dissolved.

Once smooth, add the honey, cardamom, and cinnamon. Whisk a little bit more until everything is well combined.

6. Combine the Semolina and Egg Yolk Mixtures

combining the semolina and egg yolk mixtures

Scoop the semolina and butter mixture from its bowl and add it to the egg yolk and sugar batter.

Combine both mixtures gently, using folding movements to incorporate the crumbly butter into the egg batter. Do not beat the batter with a mixer—we don’t want to overmix! Be gentle and fold until you no longer see dry crumbs of semolina and butter.

7. Add Rosewater, Nutmeg, Lime, and Cashew Nuts

adding rosewater, nutmeg, lime, and cashew nuts

In that same bowl with the semolina and egg batter, now we incorporate the rose water, grate the nutmeg, and add the zest of one lime. This will make the mixture slightly wet, so fold it gently to combine.

adding the zest of one lime to love cake batter

Once done, incorporate the crushed cashew nuts into the mixture and fold them until thoroughly incorporated.

8. Fold in the Egg Whites

folding in the egg whites

Fold the egg whites gently into the mix, just enough to barely combine them. Overmixing will deflate the egg whites, which will leave the cake flat and dense since we’re not using leavening agents like baking soda or powder.

If you’re not sure, check the video and follow Nadee’s technique!

9. Bake, Serve, and Enjoy!

pouring the cake batter into a parchment paper-covered cake pan and smoothing out the top

Line a baking pan with parchment paper and pour the cake batter, using a spatula to smooth out the top. To eliminate air bubbles, tap the pan against the table.

baking the love cake in a preheated oven

Bake in a preheated oven at 300°F (150°C) for an hour, then take it out of the oven and let it cool.

adding some powdered sugar on top of the cake

Decorate Sri Lankan love cake with powdered sugar on top, and you’re ready to enjoy!

homemade Sri Lankan love cake

Top Tip: For your Sri Lankan Love Cake, you can opt for a variety of tray sizes—either a 35 x 24 cm (14 x 9½ inches), a 30cm x 20cm (about 12×8 inches) or a 25×25 cm (10×10 inches) square baking tray. Each size offers a slightly different cake thickness and texture, from thinner and crustier to denser and moister.

My advice? Resist the temptation and wait—the flavors really develop throughout the night, so the cake is much tastier the day after.

Finally, remember to enjoy the process of baking, from the preparation of ingredients to the aroma filling your kitchen. The love and care you put into baking the Love Cake will surely be felt by those who get to enjoy it.

I’d love to hear from you! If you’ve given the Sri Lankan Love Cake a try or if you have any questions about making it, please drop a comment below. Your feedback and questions are really important to me. Whether you’re curious about a step, have a tip to share, or just want to talk about how it went, I’m all ears.

Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions You Might Love!

Sri Lankan spice blend

1. Gluten-Free: If you want a gluten-free version of the Sri Lankan love cake, substitute the semolina with corn or rice semolina alternatives.

2. Puhul Dosi: Many people in Sri Lanka add puhul dosi to their love cake recipes. Puhul Dosi is a traditional Sri Lankan confectionery made of sweet winter melon, a type of pumpkin. You can find it in Sri Lankan stores and incorporate it into the mix while adding the cashew nuts.

3. Homemade Brown Sugar: If you don’t have brown sugar at home, you can make your own by mixing granulated sugar and molasses. Just combine two teaspoons of molasses per cup of white sugar!

4. Build-a-Spice: Many Sri Lankan families have their love cake spice mixture, so don’t be afraid to make your own. For example, you can add cloves or a touch of ginger if you’d like.

How To Store Sri Lankan Love Cake?

After cooling, wrap your Sri Lankan Love Cake in plastic wrap or an airtight container to keep it moist. It’s fine on the counter for a couple of days or in the fridge for longer. But here’s a tip: it tastes better the next day! The flavors meld beautifully overnight, making it even more delicious.

Check Out Also: Moist And Easy Banana Cake – No Oven Required!

Traditional Sri Lankan Love Cake Recipe

Recipe by Jen Evansy
5.0 from 3 votes
Course: DessertCuisine: Sri Lanka, AsianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Baking time




Total time





Get ready to fall head over heels with this Sri Lankan Love Cake recipe! Imagine biting into a moist, fragrant slice filled with the crunch of cashews, the warmth of spices like cardamom and cinnamon, and the sweet whispers of honey and rose water. This isn’t just any cake; it’s a love letter to Sri Lanka’s rich culinary history, wrapped up in the cozy comfort of semolina. Perfect for anyone eager to sprinkle a little adventure into their baking, I’ve got you covered with easy-to-follow measurements in cups and grams. So, let’s whip up some magic and bring a piece of Sri Lankan joy right into your kitchen. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!

Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on


  • 125 g Semolina (about 1/2 cup)

  • 125 g Room temperature butter (about 1/2 cup or 1 stick)

  • 125 g Cashew nuts, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 3 Medium size eggs

  • 125 g Brown sugar (about 1/2 cup packed)

  • 2 tablespoons Honey

  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons Rose water

  • A pinch Grated nutmeg

  • 1 Zest one lime

  • 2 tablespoons Powdered sugar for dusting


  • Preheat Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 150°C (300°F). Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Roast Semolina: In a pan, roast the semolina over low heat for about 5 minutes, until it turns a light yellow color. Let it cool, then mix it with the butter.
  • Prepare Cashew Nuts: Chop the cashew nuts into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  • Whisk Egg Whites: In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. This will help make the cake fluffy.
  • Mix Egg Yolks and Sugar: In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the brown sugar until they turn creamy.
  • Add Honey and Spices: To the yolk mixture, add honey, cardamom, and cinnamon, and whisk until well incorporated.
  • Combine with Semolina: Stir the semolina-butter mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Mix well.
  • Add Flavors: Mix in the rose water, grated nutmeg, and lime zest into the batter.
  • Fold in Cashews and Egg Whites: Gently fold in the chopped cashew nuts and then the beaten egg whites, being careful not to deflate the mixture.
  • Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake at 150°C (300°F) for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool and Serve: Let the cake cool in the pan, then dust it with powdered sugar before cutting it into pieces. Remember, it tastes even better the next day!

Recipe Video


  • Roasting Semolina: Don’t skip roasting the semolina. This step enhances its nutty flavor and improves the cake’s texture. Keep stirring to ensure even roasting without burning.
  • Testing for Doneness: Ovens can vary, so start checking the cake for doneness around the 50-minute mark. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Avoid opening the oven frequently, as sudden temperature changes can affect the cake’s rise.
  • Flavor Development: If you can, let the cake rest for a day before serving. This waiting period allows the flavors to meld and deepen, significantly enhancing the overall taste of the cake.
  • Substitutions and Variations: While traditional ingredients are key to the authentic flavor, don’t be afraid to experiment with nut variations or adjust the spices according to your taste preferences.
  • Lime Zest: Be sure to only zest the green part of the lime. The white pith underneath is bitter and can affect the overall taste of your cake.
  • Alternative Sweeteners: If you’re exploring different types of sweetness, consider using muscovado sugar instead of regular brown sugar for a deeper, more complex flavor profile. Just keep in mind that it might slightly alter the texture.
  • Prevent Over-Browning: Gently cover the top of your cake with foil if it’s browning too quickly, ensuring the inside cooks evenly without burning the surface.

Nutrition Facts

  • Total number of serves: 12
  • Calories: 244kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Fat: 15g

Like this recipe?

Check Out @FoodHow on Pinterest.

Like our Facebook Page!

Follow us on Facebook

2 thoughts on “This Sri Lankan Love Cake Is My New Bake Love – You’ve Got to Try This!”

  1. I’ve totally fallen for the Sri Lankan Love Cake! Its amazing mix of spices, cashews, and honey just creates this incredible flavor and texture that’s unlike anything else. Plus, the story behind it, blending Portuguese and Sri Lankan traditions, is just so fascinating. It’s like a little adventure in every bite!

  2. The first time I tried making Sri Lankan love cake, it was honestly a bit of a gamble. Mixing in all those spices and cashews felt like I was doing some kind of kitchen experiment. But when it came out of the oven and I had my first bite, I was hooked. It was spicy, sweet, and totally different from any cake I’d made before. Watching my friends try it and actually like it was the best part. It was a real hit, and making it felt like I discovered something new and exciting in the kitchen.


Leave a Comment

About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.