Epicurious' saffron-frosted cardamom cake with candied rose petals wows my guests every time: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Persian-Love-Cake-232273
My favorite cake, though, is probably dobostorte with its many layers of sponge and brittle caramel top giving way to creamy chocolate: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Dobos-To...
I'm a like a broken record on this question ... Epi's Double Chocolate Layer Cake is, to us, unbelievable...makes a huge cake so make sure you have a crowd for it....link below...ALSO: the Gramercy Ginger Cake is top notch, also at that website and has been much-discussed on this board, too:
Hazelnut cake (Nusstorte):
12 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 cups filberts (hazelnuts)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 oz. brandy
1. Roast the nuts on a cookie sheet for ten minutes at 350°; rub them in a towel, a few at a time, to remove as much as you can of the skins. Process the nuts to a fine meal.
2. Break up the yolks with a fork; add the vanilla.
3. Whip the whites to soft peaks; gradually add the sugar and continue whipping to the stiff peak stage.
4. Combine the nut meal with the yolks; fold in the whites, deflating as little as possible.
5. Divide between 2 9-inch cake pans, bottoms lined with wax paper or parchment, OR spread on a 16 x 24 inch parchment-lined cookie sheet; bake 30 minutes (pans) or 20 minutes (sheet) at 350°, until the top is light brown and the cake feels "springy." Remove from oven and paint the layers with brandy.
6. When cool, either spread one pan layer with buttercream and stack the other layer on top, or cut the sheet cake crossways into four strips and stack, with buttercream between layers.
7. Cover top and sides with dark chocolate glaze.
Buttercream: beat 5 egg yolks until sticky; on high speed in mixer, drizzle in sugar syrup cooked to about 238° (this needs to be accurate within a couple of degrees) and keep beating until cooled and pale ivory in color. Beat in 2 sticks (8 oz.) softened butter. Flavor with 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate and/or whatever else you like.
Dark chocolate glaze: in a small saucepan, combine 1/3 stick butter, 1/3 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until you see a thick bubble appear; remove from heat and use as cake frosting or ice cream topping.
I haven't made this yet, so will post if it turns out to be as good as it sounds. I found the recipe at an Australian website. It's called Turkish Apricot Orange Cake. It has pistachios - ground and chopped, Greek yoghurt, orange zest, dried apricots, toasted almonds along with the usual cake ingreds. I'm making it for a party this weekend and will let you.