This pretty cake is inspired by an Indian rose petal preserve. Aniseedy fennel balances the rosewater while dried rose petals add crunch to the creamy icing
ROSE AND HONEY CAKE
100g golden caster sugar
100g clear honey
100g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1 tsp rosewater
for the rose mix
20g dried rose petals*
1 tbsp dry-roasted fennel seeds
1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
4 tbsp caster sugar
for the icing
300ml double cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp dry-roasted fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 Preheat oven to 180C/Fan 160C/350F. Grease 2 x 20cm cake tins and line them with baking parchment.
2 In a large bowl, mix the cake ingredients with an electric whisk for 2 mins until light and creamy. Divide the batter equally into the prepared tins and bake for 20–25 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
3 Leave to cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
4 To make the rose mix, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a low heat for 2–3 mins, stirring continuously. Take the pan off the heat as soon as the sugar starts to melt. Give it a good stir and set aside to cool.
5 To make the icing, whisk the cream and sugar together in a bowl until soft peaks form. Fold in the crushed fennel seeds.
6 To assemble, place one cake on a serving plate and spread half the icing over it. Sprinkle with half the rose mix. Place the second cake on top. Spread the remaining icing over this layer and finish by sprinkling over the last of the rose mix. Leave to stand at room temperature for 10 mins before serving.
Note: This cake will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to four days.
Recipe from The Cardamom Trail by Chetna Makan (Mitchell Beazley).