WHEN CAKE CALLS, I LISTEN! - Spiced Rose Petal Tea Cake
A couple squares of dark chocolate if I’m being very good or a luscious slice of dairy and flour free raw mango-passion no cheese ‘cheese’ cake, like the recipe on page147 of my cookbook, My Goodness! Greens are usually my go to sweet treats. But for those times when something warmer, sweeter, comforting and traditional, like a very large slab of cake, yes cake made with flour, butter, sugar and eggs calls, this recipe, hands down, is my favourite. I’ve been making this cake for years and it started out as a good old-fashioned Jamaican gingerbread. I would make them at Christmastime, in miniature loaf tins, tie them up in parchment and string, add a sprig from our fragrant pine tree and include in gifts.
I think that spices are the very soul of most dishes, they play a huge part in defining a country’s cuisine. Just seeing those little pods and seeds on the spice shelf inspires me to cook. Opening a jar transports one to far off places. I have always loves mixing my own spice concoctions and I like deep, spicy flavours, even in desserts. Interesting notes that I can sink my teeth into, with a bit of sweet, but without the overpowering chemical tastes of refined sugar and margarine. That is why I love this recipe so much and unlike many cake recipes, this one can be molded and tweaked to suit whatever is on hand. Over the years, I’ve added lemon or orange zest, tried different spice combinations, and variations of dried fruit and nuts.
Every time I make this cake, the flavours are a little different. Dried fruit will add sweetness to the cake so you can reduce the molasses and honey if you wish. The result really depends on the contents of my pantry on the day. It is a very straightforward, forgiving kind of cake and in this recipe, I added a spiced rose tea infusion.
One of the chapters in my cookbook is all about the visual interest, beauty and bursts of fragrance and flavour you get when using edible flowers in our meals. Roses are some of the prettiest edible flowers. They not only beautify our vases, they are gorgeous on cakes. The recent summer rains have penetrated deep into the soil resulting in clusters of rose blossoms. I couldn’t resist following through with those lovely floral notes from the tea infusion, so I topped the cake with a thick yogurt, mascarpone is also a delicious topping, and sprinkled an assortment of organic rose petals from the garden.
2 cups self rising flour - sifted
1T. peeled and grated ginger
Pinch of your choice of ground spices –use a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pimento, or star anise
1 cup of your choice of dried fruit – papaya, mango, raisins, apricots, dates, figs, cherries and berries
½ cup of your choice of nuts – walnuts, almonds, pecans
I sometimes add a handful of freshly grated coconut or grated carrot to the mix.
6 ozs. butter – room temp.
¼ cup brown sugar – up to a ¾ cup if you prefer your cakes sweeter
¼ cup honey
¼ cup molasses
2 large eggs – room temp - I usually use 3 eggs as the small brown eggs we get from our chicks are smaller than store bought eggs , but oh so tasty!
¼ cup rose petal tea – I picked up this mix of spiced rose petal tea from Marianna’s kitchen
½ cup yogurt mixed with 2T of milk or you can use sour cream
1 T lemon juice
1 T lemon zest
¼ t vanilla bean paste
Greek yogurt or mascarpone for topping
Toasted nuts, dried fruit, fresh rose blossoms are all optional garnishes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a loaf of round tin and set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, ginger, spices, dried fruit and nuts. Mix thoroughly to combine and set aside.
In a mixer or another large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, honey and molasses and mix until light and fluffy – about 10 mins. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing just until well combined. Add the yogurt, rose tea, lemon juice, zest and vanilla. (When using grated coconut or carrot, usually use about a ¼ cup) you can add now.
Fold in the flour mixture into the wet mixture in batches. When thoroughly combined, pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 mins. Insert a skewer in the middle of the cake. When it comes out clean and the top of the cake is golden brown, it is done.
Cool in the tin. When cool top with yogurt or mascarpone and garnish with rose petals nuts and dried fruit. Above all enjoy!!
* Note: Not all flowers are edible. When using edible flowers, always make sure to properly identify that the ones you choose are edible and that they are free from chemicals fungicides and pesticides.