Monday, May 14, 2012

Giant Sugared Rose Petal Cake

When I think of all the things that got me interested in cooking, the first thing I think of is my mum. She claims to be a "basic" cook and doesn't think too much of her own meals, but she doesn't know her own worth or skill when it comes to the kitchen. She may not have had all the time in the world for fancy flourishes and trying new things constantly, but she is consistently great at what she does. And she was brave, letting a seven year old loose in the kitchen to cook from her head with all the ingredients she could wish for. Yes, that little child was me. I remember being so proud when my first creation came out of the oven. It was a spongy sort of cake compiled of lots of eggs and coloured sprinkles, baked in a slice pan. I believe it tasted solely of egg, and was probably sneaked into the bin after a few attempts to enjoy it, but I would never have known. It must have created an interest in me.
So here's one for the wonderful Mums in my life, for Mother's Day. I have been blessed with two: My mum Sue, and my mother in law Geraldine. (Now how many people can say they have a great mother in law?) They're the best mums a girl could have.

 I cheated a little with the cake making as I knew I wouldn't have the time to whip one up from scratch and decorate. So I used a packet butter cake recipe, coloured soft pink. I made it in a oven proof bowl to get a more domed shape, but the original cake was made in a regular spring-form cake tin, and looked pretty much the same. I liked the dome effect though, so if you have an oven proof bowl, try it! The measurements of this bowl were 10cm high, 18cm wide across the top lip. The finished cake is on a 25cm round cake stand.
It honestly took me about 4-5 hours to complete this cake with frequent interruptions in between. Make sure you have a child free morning or afternoon when you attempt it. Also, just a note about feeling discouraged. The cake doesn't look like a rose until the very end, so keep working on those rows and rows of petals. The final touches are so exciting and satisfying!
What does it taste like? Heaven. Imagine subtle hints of Turkish delight in every sugar coated, crunchy bite. Imagine rose water. They're surprisingly delicious, and the sugared petals also make pretty additions to cupcakes and other desserts, placed individually as decoration. Roses are edible of course, but be sure that your roses have not been sprayed with pesticides. Home grown roses are the best to use if you are unsure.

A special thanks to my husband, who brought me home roses and saw me tear the heads off and dismantle them with great gusto. You're a true gem.

1 bunch of pink roses (about 10 heads)
1 egg white
2 cups caster sugar
1 butter cake packet mix
1 tsp. pink food colouring
2 cups icing sugar
1/8-1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp butter or margarine, softened

Preheat your oven a advised on the cake box. Grease and line your cake tin (20x20cm) or oven proof bowl. Make the cake batter as directed in your recipe, or on the cake packet instructions. Add the pink dye to the batter and lightly swirl through.Scoop batter into the prepared tin.
Cook as directed. Cool on a wire rack before commencing the decorating.
Place the egg white in a small bowl and lightly whisk to break up the albumen.
Place the caster sugar in a shallow dish. Line several trays with paper toweling.
Very gently remove the stems from your roses, so that you have just the heads. You can either take the rose petals off individually or pierce the very bottom of the rose with your nail where it joins to the receptacle, removing all the petals at once. Discard any blemished, broken or bruised petals. The more open the rose, the better, as the further in towards the centre of the rose, the more curled and small the petals become.
With a pastry brush, smooth egg white over the whole petal, then coat in caster sugar. Lay the sugared petal on the paper toweling and repeat with the remaining rose petals. Any petals which are too curled at the edges, lay flat on their faces so that the curved edges are pushed flatter. A little curve is nice and gives definition, but too much can ruin the way the petals sit together on the cake. Leave all the petals to dry. (Depending upon weather conditions such as humidity etc, petals may vary in drying time. I set my trays on the stove with a little heat in the oven and they dried within the hour.)
Place the icing sugar in a medium bowl with the butter or margarine. Add enough milk to get a good icing consistency (the consistency of lightly whipped cream). Smooth carefully over the cake, creating as smooth a surface as possible.
Working from the bottom edge upwards, begin to place the petals on the cake, slightly overlapping each petal with the one besides it. Keep working your way around and around the cake in this manner. As you get towards the top of the cake, the petals will naturally start to stand upright and begin to form the shape of the middle. Work your way into the centre, continuing the previously mentioned overlapping. Place a single, more curled sugared rose petal in the centre to finish off the cake.


  1. Espectacular, woooow, quiero uno asi en mi boda, impresionante

  2. I am bookmarking this post. I'd love to try this out sometime. Although I know it will need a pair of skilled hands, mine would turn out just a blob of pink. I will still try though, this really looks pretty.

    1. hi there my fudo, thanks for commenting:) i should have mentioned in the post, but it really does look just a blob of pink until the very end. the centre of the rose is what really makes it look sublime and like a rose. before then (and as you have to work your way from the bottom us) it is rather depressing as it doesnt look like it will ever look like a rose. have heart and cook away!

  3. Replies
    1. thank you Tara! I appreciate you popping by and commenting!

    2. Looks beautiful! I'm making this cake on the weekend and this is the best picture I've seen of it( I have a black n white print to replicate ) And colour helps- is it better with icing sugar or caster sugar? How long do the roses las? I plan to make them 2 days in advance - is that sensible? S

    3. Excellent questions! your best bet is definately to use caster sugar, because icing sugar will not work as far as I know. The caster sugar gives it a lovely frosted look. Th icing sugar will be thick and weigh the petals down to much and may get gluggy. I made my rose petals well in advance, to ensure that they were stiff and well dried when I started arranging them on the cake. Depending upon the climate the drying process can take from a few hours to a day or so, so its a good idea to make them well before you need them. I left a few petals off and they were still edible even after a few weeks! the colour does eventually change though, after about 4 days or so, they darken. I hope this has been helpful for you! and good luck, its actually easier than it looks:) and it doesnt look like a rose until the end, so dont lose heart! Let me know how it turns out!

  4. I wish i could do this. Although i'm most certain i would end up with a ball of fur look-alike cake. :D

    1. he he Pencil Kitchen trust me, this did look like that until the very end when I made the centre of the rose! I wish now that I had taken step by step photos to convince you, its easier than it looks (just time consuming)

  5. Wow...this is one of the finest cake that I have seen. Looks fantastic....beautiful. First time here...and am happy to find your blog:)

    1. thanks Nina, you are so kind. i appreciate you popping by for a look and a comment. thank you!

  6. can you eat the petals and if you can, what do they taste like?

    1. yes, rose petals are definitely edible, but it is best if you use roses from your own garden, because some bought roses may be sprayed with pesticides at some point. they have a beautiful and delicate taste, very much like turkish delight in a less intense form. surprisingly delicious!

  7. Replies
    1. great question Marlu! It looks impossible to cut, doesnt it? you really just cut it like a regular cake, and it cuts just fine. The petals are not "hard" as such, just firm, and they give way to the knife easily. hope this helps!

  8. This is one of the most gorgeous cakes that I have ever seen...So perfect for Mother's Day!


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