There are many smells I enjoy and most of them involve food – garlic and onions softening, broad beans flowers on a hot morning, my fingertips green and fragrant from torn basil; but nothing beats that warm, homely, sweet smell of a baking cake.
I’ve been experimenting with cake flavours lately – I’m not a lover of sweet cakes; those oozingly, cheek-achingly, filing-creating clouds of fluffiness smothered in buttercream, dripping white chocolate and iced within an inch of their life – in order to not just keep knocking out lemon drizzle cakes and boring the socks off my friends.
This cake is light and perfumed, the flavours barely there, just the odd floral note tripping across the tongue. I’m pretty proud of it and those nice people at the Cake and Bake show are proud of me inventing new cake recipes so have given me TWO TICKETS to Manchester’s Cake and Bake Show (which runs April 5-7 – more info HERE
) to give to you happy readers.
So read my recipe and then, to be in a chance with winning, comment on the blog or send me a tweet @northwestnosh with the title of your favourite/most unusual cake recipe (no need to post the whole recipe) – the most creative/yummy sounding wins. IT’S THAT EASY! Comp closes Fri 29th March – good luck!
Gluten free Rosewater and Orange cake
Rosewater and orange cake (nb this is an orange and not a rose icing, hence the colour!)
3 large free range eggs, at room temperature – separated
160g unrefined caster sugar
80ml light olive oil (not heavy or EV as it will cover the flavour of the cake)
Zest and juice of half an orange
Pinch of salt
Once the cake is cooked
For the buttercream
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g icing sugar
1-2 tblsp rosewater
For the icing
125g icing sugar
1 tblsp rosewater
Red food colouring
1. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan) and grease/line an 18cm cake tin
2. Beat the egg whites to peaks and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl add the sugar and beat in one egg yolk at a time on the lowest whisk setting. Once all the eggs are in, work through the whisk setting, spending about a minute at each speed, the mix will go pale and creamy. It may seem long-winded but the whole idea is to get as MUCH air as possible in your cake as gluten free flour doesn’t rise in the same way and can be pretty flat.
4. Pop the orange zest in the bowl and then start your whisk on slow – whilst it’s running drizzle in the oil, followed by the orange juice and the rosewater. As in step 3, work through your whisk’s settings.
5. Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and fold in – I tend to do this in two separate amounts to make it easier. Be as gentle as you can to keep all that precious air in. I would advise against eating the batter right now – gluten free flour is pretty grainy and it tastes a bit like sand; DELICIOUS.
6. Add the egg whites is three separate amounts and fold in gentle gentle with a spatula or metal spoon (wood will knock the air out). Make sure you ensure it’s properly incorporated otherwise you will get rubbery white bits throughout the cake.
7. Pour the mixture in to your tin, it will be wetter than a normal cake batter, but this is normal – then pop it in the oven for 35-40 min. It’s ready when a skewer can be inserted and comes out clean.
8. Take the cake out and let it rest in the tin for five minutes, then take the cake out of the tin but leave it in it’s paper and leave to cool on a rack.
9. Whilst the cake is cooling, make the buttercream by putting the butter in a bowl and whisking till light. Add in the icing sugar and beat again. The add the rosewater and, you got it, beat again. Give the butterceam a taste and add more sugar/rosewater as needed. This recipe makes slightly more than you will need so you can eat a big spoon of it when no one is looking (if you want to cover the whole cake in buttercream, then just double the recipe, it works, I’ve done it).
10. Once the cake is pretty cool, slice in half and drizzle each cut side with the rosewater and then sandwich the cake together with the buttercream and set aside whilst you make the icing.
11. To make the icing put the icing sugar in a bowl and add the rosewater a little at a time until the mix coats the back of a spoon, add a tiny drop of red colouring to make a light pink colour. Really it’s that’s easy. Leave to thicken for a few minutes and then pour over the cake and garnish with a rose petal if you have one.
12. Serve with a cup of fragrant earl grey or chai tea and eat in a summery garden, or (in reality) the warmth of the kitchen!