Saturday, June 2, 2012

Eternal summer sponge with raspberries and rosewater

I make no secrets about how much I love roses - to look at, to smell... and to eat. This cake combines the three of these to create a sponge which sings of summer - yet could be met even in the depths of winter.

Imagine a lemony sponge as light as a summer cloud, filled with ripe raspberries and creamy vanilla scented mascarpone topped with a rosewater icing and crystallised rose petals. This is summer on a plate, just begging to be served outside in the sun for a perfect summer celebration.

I know it looks complicated, but I made it from start to finish in 1 hour - and I was creating the recipe as I went!! If you have kids or other willing helpers get them to make the water icing and do the rose petals. Be aware that they use raw egg - so make sure you are using really fresh egg white from a reputable source. These are even better made the day before so they can really crisp up. They last for weeks in an air tight jar.

If you want to make too much water icing, you can thicken up what's left with a little more icing sugar, roll into balls and leave to set in the fridge and then dip in dark chocolate for gorgeous old fashioned rose creams, perfect for an after-dinner treat.

Pre heat oven to 170C (fan), 180C standard
2 x 8 inch (20cm) round tins, greased and lined

210g butter
220 g sugar
4 eggs
110 ml milk (100 ml if using lemon juice)
3 tsp baking powder 
220g flour
zest 1 lemon
1 tsp lemon extract or 1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

250 g tub mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp icing sugar

150 g raspberries

Rose water icing
125g icing sugar
2 tsp rose water
drop of red food colouring

Crystalised rose petals
1 egg white
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 pink or white scented rose

Beat the soft butter and sugar together till light and fluffy with electric whisk. Add eggs one by one whisking in. Then flour and baking powder. Whisk for 2 mins, then add in the milk to loosen the mix a little. Add vanilla, lemon zest and juice/ extract.

Pour into two greased lined 8inch tins. Bake for 20-25 mins until golden and skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile get on with the crystalised rose petals - with a clean paint brush paint both sides of each rose petal completely with egg white. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to dry on a sheet of baking parchment.

Leave to cool in tins for 5 mins, then carefully turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool for at least 30 mins before icing.

To make the rose icing combine the sugar and rose water and colour in a bowl. You may need a little more icing sugar or rose water depending on consistency, it needs to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and drip very slowly and lazily off!

For the filling mix the mascarpone with vanilla and sugar with a spatula or spoon, taste and add a little more sugar if desired. Mix through the raspberries, squashing slightly as you stir.

When the cake is cool to the touch, sandwich together with the filling, pour the rose water icing over the top (it will drip down slightly) and scatter with rose petals. Serve immediately, but keeps in the fridge for a couple of days.

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