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Recipe: Strawberry, rose and almond cake

PUBLISHED: 12:25 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:25 18 July 2018

Strawberry, rose and almond cake  Picture: Archant

Strawberry, rose and almond cake Picture: Archant

Archant

Make the most of the summer berries with this fruity cake.

I don’t know about you, but every time I look out the window at my garden these days I feel a sharp pang of disappointment. Sure, the hot weather’s been lovely, but the grass is dead (in fact it’s turning to dust in some parts of my south-west facing lawn) and the only flowers that seem to have survived are a few sun-loving lavenders, a honeyed buddleia and a handful of roses – even those are looking ropey.

At this time of year I’m usually in domestic goddess mode, making pots of exotic rose petal jam. Not so in 2018. There was, until two days ago, a single red rose along the fence, it’s head drooping wearily downwards. It definitely wasn’t looking its best for a vase, so instead ended up in this week’s bake.

I love using flowers in cakes, and roses are one of the best. Double blooming varieties especially have a beautiful fragrance.

I was looking to create a dessert cake using the best of high summer’s berries, flowers and almonds and this one ticks all the boxes.

There’s a velvety soft, yielding sponge, all vanillary and light (I owe this to using sunflower spread instead of butter). On top is a layer of fresh petals, followed by a jammy concoction of strawberries and rosewater and, for texture, a crumble blended with flakes of marzipan, which melt and caramelise into the topping.

Served with a dollop of whipped cream, or a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, it works a treat as a lazy Sunday pud- and it just might take your mind off the fact the grass more resembles the hide of a desert-swept camel.

As ever, only use unsprayed roses you’ve grown yourself without any chemicals. Wash the petals gently to remove any bugs, and dab with tissue to dry before baking.

Strawberry, rose and almond cake

(serves 8-10)

Ingredients

For the sponge:

200g sunflower spread (I use Pure) or unsalted butter at room temperature

200g golden caster sugar

200g self-raising flour

1tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs

For the strawberries:

300g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

2tbsps caster sugar

½ to 1tsp rosewater

1tbsp water

For the crumble topping:

50g unsalted butter or sunflower spread

100g plain flour

1tbsp caster sugar

75g marzipan, grated (not finely)

1 head unsprayed rose, washed and petals removed

Method

Line a deep 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tin. Pre-heat the oven to 170C.

Beat together the spread or butter and golden caster sugar for the cake until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract then one egg and a little flour. Beat until combined. Stir in the other eggs and remaining flour. Beat until smooth and well combined.

Pour into your prepared tin, spread evenly and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the cake begins cooking, prepare the toppings.

Place the strawberries, sugar, rosewater and water in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat. It’s done when the juices turn sticky and syrupy. The berries will mostly retain their shape.

Combine the butter, flour and sugar for the crumble topping until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the marzipan and combine.

Once the cake has had 20 minutes place a single layer of rose petals over the top, then spoon over the sticky strawberry mix.

Top with the crumble.

Place back in the oven for a further 15 to 20 minutes until the topping starts to turn golden.

Allow to cool in the tin on a rack for about half an hour before removing.

It’s lovely served just warm.

For this cake Charlotte used ingredients from the East of England Co-op’s Sourced Locally range including: Marriage’s flour, Lindsey Lodge strawberries and Havensfield eggs.

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