This is a cake with a unique, distinct, quirky flavour. I found that when baked [as per the recipe] some friends thought it was the best cake they have ever tasted, and others politely said that it “wasn't quite to their taste” - which basically meant that they hated it!
I find the cake exceptionally moist with an amazing texture: it’s neither dense or light, but more so open and crumbly. However the rose water can be a little overpowering as it is used in the cake, the syrup and the cream. I now remove the rose water from the cake, keep it in the syrup and serve a slice of the cake with vanilla-laced whipped cream, rather than the yogurt/crème fraîche mixture. However that’s just how I like it.
I’d totally recommend making it as per the “Sweet” recipe first of all, taste it and take it from there…
I’d love to hear what you think of it or what changes you’ve made?
Email me; firstname.lastname@example.org
The original recipe that follows is taken directly from Ottolenghi/Goh’s “Sweet” Cookbook.
I’ve highlighted [in square brackets] where I experienced issues or had to make changes to the original recipe. You can order the Rose Water, and plenty of other pantry items, from the Ottolenghi online store - https://ottolenghi.co.uk/pantry. Delivery is fast [just two days to Northern Ireland] and the packaging is beautiful!
3 Cardamom Pods
150g Pistachio Kernels, shelled, plus 20g extra, finely chopped to serve
100g ground Almonds
170g fine Semolina
1¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoon Salt
300g unsalted Butter, at room temperature, cubed, plus for greasing
4 large Eggs, lightly whisked
finely grated zest of 1 Lemon (1tsp) plus 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons Rose Water (not rose essence)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
200g Greek Yogurt
200g Crème Fraîche
1 tablespoon Icing Sugar
1 tablespoon Rose Water
100ml Lemon Juice
80ml Rose Water
100g Caster Sugar
Crystallised Rose Petals [optional]:
1 large Egg White
10g pesticide-free Red or Pink Rose Petals
25g Caster Sugar
[I also used some dried rose petals from the Ottolenghi Online Store to decorate]
Preheat the oven to 100℃/80℃Fan/Gas Mark ¼.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment, and grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line with baking parchment.
Crystallised Rose Petals [optional]:
Whisk the egg white by hand until frothy, then, using a small pastry brush or paintbrush, very lightly paint over both sides of each petal with the egg white; do this in two or three batches, brushing and then sprinkling lightly over both sides with the sugar. Shake off the excess sugar and lay the petals on the lined baking tray. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, until dry and crunchy, then set aside to cool.
[The first time I crystallised rose petals I did as above but they all stuck to the parchment! I redid them painting both sides of the petal with egg white but only sprinkling sugar on one side. They worked out perfectly. I also used a small paintbrush, nicked from my daughters pencil case to paint the egg white on]
Make the cake:
Increase the oven temperature to 180℃/160℃Fan/Gas Mark 4.
Use the flat side of a large knife to crush the cardamom pods and place the seeds in the small bowl of a food processor: you’ll have just under ¼ teaspoon of seeds. The pods can be discarded. Add the pistachios and blitz until the nuts are finely ground - the black cardamom seeds won’t really grind down - then transfer to a bowl. Add the ground almonds, semolina, baking powder and salt. Mix together and set aside.
[I got much better results using a spice blender rather than a food processor to blitz the pistachios and cardamom seeds.]
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on a medium-high speed until fully combined, but take care not to over-work: you don’t want to incorporate a lot of air into the mix. With the machine still running, slowly add the eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times and making sure that each batch is fully incorporated before adding the next. The mix will curdle once the eggs are added, but don’t worry: this will not affect the end result.
Remove the bowl from the machine and add the dry ingredients, folding them in by hand, again, take care not to over-mix. Next fold in the lemon zest, juice, rose water and vanilla and scrape the batter into the tin. Level with a palette knife and bake for about 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean but oily.
Make the cream while the cake is in the oven:
Place all the ingredients for the cream in a bowl and use a hand-held whisk to whip everything together for about 2 minutes, until thick. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Make the Syrup:
Start to make the syrup about 10 minutes before the cakes comes out of the oven: you want it to be warm when the cake is ready. Place all the ingredients for the syrup in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, stirring so that the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat; don’t worry that the consistency is thinner than you might expect, this is how it should be.
Finish the Cake:
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle all of the syrup over the top. It is a lot of syrup, but don’t lose your nerve: the cake can take it! Sprinkle over the finely chopped pistachios and set the cake aside in its tin to come to room temperature. Remove from the tin and scatter the rose petals over the cake. Serve with a generous spoonful of cream alongside.
This recipe has been taken from “Sweet, by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh
Sweet Cookbook: https://ottolenghi.co.uk/books/sweet-cookbook-shop
Ottolenghi Website: https://ottolenghi.co.uk
Ottolenghi Store: https://ottolenghi.co.uk/shop-online