Ain’t I a lucky girl? Just before my husband’s birthday and our first Dubai Food Blogger’s picnic I make this incredible cake and realize: this is one you can impress with. The flavor combination of pistachios, rosewater and lemon is something typically Arabic. The cake itself is universal, and so versatile when it comes to the styling.

My husband is usually the guinea pig for my baking adventures. He had this cake before, so it will not be utterly new to him on his birthday. On the other hand, who wants to be a guinea pig on his birthday. But for the first time ever, I will make a birthday cake myself. To make it impressive enough to be a birthday cake, I will make it a layer cake with the cream cheese frosting between and on top the layers. I know it will be good.

One day after the birthday, I am attending a potluck of Dubai food bloggers. We have been meeting for more than six months, usually doing a monthly meet-up with something food-related: attending cooking classes, visiting Arabic sweets factories, checking out hole-in-the-wall fish restaurants at the beach, etc. Our group is ever-growing and this time we will just sit down, eat, chat and get to know each other. I cannot keep this cake from them. I am sure I get lots of brownie points when I bring this. And I want the brownie points from my husband too.

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel, finely grated
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup palm sugar
1 tablespoon rosewater

1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped

1/2 cup cream cheese
3 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped

Serves 6-8
Preheat oven to 175C/375F. Line bottom of 8 inch spring form or flan form with parchment paper and/or lightly grease the sides with olive oil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel. Set aside. In another bowl, combine yogurt with sugar. Stir in olive oil and rosewater. Add wet and to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped pistachios. Pour batter into prepared spring form. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before taking out of the spring form.

Just before serving the cake, whip together the cream cheese and honey/agave. With a spatula, spread evenly over the top and sides of the cooled cake. Then sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Ready to serve.