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Persian Upside-Down Cake with Dates and Cardamom

Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Jewish, Persian, Sephardic
Servings: 8


Date Topping

  • 27 Medjool dates
  • 6 Tbsp Butter Softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • pinch Salt
  • pinch Ground Cardamom


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


  • In a medium bowl, cover dates with hot water and soak for at least 20 minutes.
  • Remove skin from dates, halve lengthwise, and remove pits.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Butter and flour the sides of a 9-inch round non-stick cake pan.

For the date topping

  • Cream together butter, brown sugar, salt, and cardamom until well combined
  • Spread butter mixture evenly across the bottom of prepared pan.
  • Arrange date halves over butter mixture in a pattern of concentric circles with their cut sides facing up. 

To make the cake batter

  • Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom together in a medium bowl. 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until creamy and pale in color.
  • Add eggs one at a time, incorporating one fully before adding the next.
  • Beat in rosewater to fully incorporate. 
  • With mixer on low speed, add ⅓ of flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (do not over-beat).
  • Follow with half of buttermilk, then second third of flour, the other half of buttermilk, then the remaining flour, mixing completely between each addition. 
  • Spoon batter over arranged dates, spreading evenly and taking care not to jostle dates.
  • Bake cake in middle rack of oven 30-40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  • Cool cake in pan on a rack for about five minutes.
  • Run a knife around edges of cake, then invert onto serving plate, replacing any dates that stick to pan.
  • Garnish with edible flowers, ground pistachios, or dried rose petals, and serve warm or at room temperature.