English rose cake

Before the Christmas flavours overload (after all it is the season in which absolutely everything seems to be ginger bread/cinnamon flavoured), I wanted to experiment with the refreshing, floral and exotic flavour of rose water. Used heavily and for centuries in Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine, it’s also a primary flavouring in a wide range of desserts in Europe and even the United States.  It adds a subtle fresh kick to rice puddings, biscuits, shortbread and drinks. This cake is Turkish delight meets Victoria Sponge Cake. East marries West. I added some pink peppercorn to the icing, they are so mild and bring up the flavours in sweet and savoury cooking.

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Ingredients
For the cake
200g gluten-free self-rising flour
200g butter, room temperature
200g sugar
½ tsp rose water
4 large eggs
3 tbsp. milk if using gluten-free flour

For the rose buttercream icing
80g icing sugar
50g butter
½ tsp rose water

Method
Cake
1. Heat oven to 170C/gas 5. Grease and flour 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. Place the butter, sugar and rose water  into a bowl and beat well to a white and fluffy creamy consistency. Slowly beat in the eggs, one by one, and the milk. Fold in the flour and mix well.
2. Divide the mix between the cake tins, place into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden brown. The cakes should spring back when gently pushed in the middle. When ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, before turning out onto a wire rack and cooling completely.

For the rose buttercream icing
1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and rose water. Add the icing sugar and beat well. If the icing is a bit grainy, add a little bit of water. Beat until light and fluffy.
2. Spread the icing onto both cakes and sandwich them together. Sprinkle some pink peppercorns or rose petals.  

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