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Rose cake

29 February 2016

When eating this pretty cake you may have the sensation of walking through a rose garden: a tantalising scent and flavour of rose that is distinct but not overpowering.

Rose cake
Rose cake. Photography by Jason Ingram.

Cooking time

25-30 minutes


1 20cm cake


For the rose syrup

  • 150g/5oz caster sugar
  • 150ml/5fl oz water
  • 10 rose flowers

For the cake

  • 6 eggs
  • 180g/6oz caster sugar
  • 180g/6oz plain flour
  • 90g/3oz unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp rose syrup

For the buttercream

  • 360g/13oz icing sugar
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter
  • 7 tbsp rose syrup
  • Red/pink food colouring (optional)

For the decoration

  • Rose flowers or petals
  • Sprigs of foliage (e.g. lemon thyme)

Makes a two-layer cake. You will need 2 x deep, round cake tins, 20cm/8in in diameter, greased and base-lined.


For the rose syrup

Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add the roses, stirring to coat them in syrup. Leave, covered, to infuse and cool for at least half an hour.

For the cake

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together (for best effect use a stand mixer or electric beaters) until a little mix trickled over the surface leaves a trail, and the mixture has doubled or tripled in volume. 

Sift in half the flour and fold in. Sift in the remaining flour and fold in. Finally trickle the butter into the batter, folding as you go to minimize the loss of volume, and continue folding until everything is incorporated. 

Divide between the two tins and bake for 25–30 minutes until golden, firm and springy to the touch. Do not open the oven door before 25 minutes have elapsed or the cake will sink. 

Remove from the oven and turn over on to a wire rack but leave the tins over the top of the sponges for 10 minutes, then remove the tins.

Once cool, drizzle each sponge with 2 tbsp of rose syrup.

For the buttercream

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the butter. Beat until combined, then, still beating on slow speed, trickle in the rose syrup and a few drops of food colouring. Beat at high speed for 5–10 minutes until light and fluffy.

To assemble

Use one-third of the buttercream to sandwich the two sponges together. Spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides. Arrange rose flowers or petals on the top and stick the foliage sprigs around the edge.

Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell is published by Frances Lincoln, £16.99. Photography by Jason Ingram.

Visit our cake recipes section for more delicious cake ideas.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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