Welcome to the first recipe of 2018! I had (utterly stupid!) anxiety about deciding which recipe should kick off 2018 here on the blog, but in the end I decided to go with cake for several reasons. One, cake. Need I say more. Two, this was one of the last bakes I made in 2017, it was delicious as my birthday cake and something a little bit different. And three – I get married this year. It’s the year I get to eat the most important cake of my life. And so here is a rather yummy cake recipe for you all.
I don’t usually make my own birthday cake – leaving it to W (he once made a frankly terrifying Caterpillar cake) or my dad (who’s created some pretty awesome ones over the years – the highlight being a four-layer ombre chocolate-caramel one for my 21st). This year, however, with the day off before and W busy at university, I decided to give it a go. I used Lucy’s book, as the bakes tend to only need one bowl and anything which results in less washing up is already a winner in my eye. Me being me, I tinkered with the recipe slightly. I made a smaller cake, used a sandwich tin, reduced the poppy seeds, upped the white chocolate and added pistachios.
The rose is definitely the strongest flavour in this cake, but it isn’t at all overpowering. The poppy seeds add a good texture, the white chocolate adds creaminess and the pistachios mellow the slight soapiness of the rose. It worked perfectly as a birthday cake (complete with candles!) but I imagine it would be wonderful for an office cake sale, or as a gift for a friend. I’m also thinking cupcake versions would be delightful!
Recipe (makes a 21cm cake, serving 8 generous slices)
- 3 eggs
- Self raising flour
- Butter – some for the cake (approx 90g) and 200g for the icing
- Caster sugar
- 25g poppy seeds
- Rose water
- 100g white chocolat
- 300g icing sugar
- Pink food colouring
Grease and line two 21cm sandwich tins. Weigh the eggs in their shells (as a heads up, it’s probably around 180g), then weigh out that amount of both self-raising flour and caster sugar. You also want to weight out half that amount of both margarine and butter.
Beat the butter and margarine together until it’s soft (this job is a lot easier if they’re at room temperature), then add the sugar and cream together until the mix is fluffy and no longer gritty. Sift in the flour, add a pinch of salt and gently fold together. Fold in the poppy seeds and 15g of rosewater, then pour into the prepared tins. Smooth the tops and bake at 180C for around 20 minutes.
All the cakes to cool fully on a wire rack before making the icing. Melt the white chocolate slowly, stirring occasionally, then allow to cool for 15 minutes. You want it to be completely cooled to room temperature, without it setting. Beat the butter until soft and smooth, then add the cooled white chocolate and beat to combine. Add the icing sugar and beat together until creamy and light – I tend to do this in thirds to stop *too* much icing sugar flying everywhere. Beat in 15g of rosewater and a few drops of food colouring, before using to sandwich your cakes together and ice the top.
Roughly chop some pistachio nuts and arrange on top – you could also top with white chocolate curls, rose petals or even freeze-dried raspberries.
And that’s it – I’ve also followed the same ratios (equal weight flour/sugar/butter/eggs) for a standard Victoria sponge with success, so I’ll be forever thankful to Lucy for this method! Though I’m now obsessed with rosewater; it can be a pricey ingredient, but have a look in the World Food aisle of your local supermarket. I found a large bottle in Sainsburys for £1, whilst in the exact same store there was a much smaller bottle (in the baking aisle) for £4…
What’s your go-to cake recipe?