Growing up, Valentine’s Day was a non-event; it seemed a trivial, meaningless day fuelled by greedy company execs that mass produce measly boxed chocolates rather than individuals celebrating true love.
Recently though, I have begun to appreciate the tradition created by St. Valentine – not because I crave a box of chocolates or a single rose, rather I have just started to adore the idea. A day to celebrate love… to rejoice, acknowledge your blessings and be grateful for all the special people you have in your life. And I think we could all use a little more of this relishment in our day to day lives.
Nothing screams ‘I care for you’ more than a home-baked cake. Baking is an act of love, a joyful moment and expression of creativity. And since it’s assumed that most will be consuming chocolate for Valentine’s… I have opted in favour of something slightly different and created a simple cake that highlights the delicate flavour of rose for the upcoming day.
Crystallized White Rose Cake is adapted from my new favourite baking bible, Decorated. The cake itself is incredibly light, moist and springy – due to the high proportion of egg white in the batter. Its crumb and texture is soft whilst still feeling dense and rich at the same time, with a good balance of sweet and floral fragrance from the rose and vanilla extracts.
Crystallized White Rose Cake is beautiful. I envision it as a perfect centerpiece for your Valentine’s Day table or as a gift for your special someone. It frosts up like a dream, and will look impressive no matter how you decide to decorate it. I decorated the cake with diaphanous Colombian imported roses which I crystallized with a simple mixture of egg white and sugar.
A home-baked cake, in my opinion, will far exceed any Valentine’s gift that can be purchased and I have a feeling, your special someone will feel the same. So! Without further ado, let’s get thee to the recipe. Bonne Saint-Valentin!
- 250 g / 9 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 500 g / 18 oz. caster sugar
- 2 whole eggs and 6 egg whites, lightly beaten at room temperature
- 450 g / 16 oz. plain flour
- 5 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 360 ml / 12 fl. oz. whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 tsp. rose extract
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 560 g / 19.5 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature / for the buttercream
- 900 g / 2 lb. icing sugar
- 225 ml / 7.5 fl. oz. double cream
- 4 tsp. rose extract
- Pink food colouring
- Pink and white crystallized rose petals for decoration
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C / 335 F. Grease and line three 18 cm / 7 inch cake tins with baking parchment. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until light, pale and fluffy, roughly 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs to the mixture a little at a time, until well incorporated.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the milk and the rose and vanilla extract, continuing to beat, and then add the remaining flour and milk.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins. Bake in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, level any domed tops.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the rose buttercream. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter until pale and creamy, roughly 4 to 5 minutes. Add the icing sugar and cream and continue to beat until smooth. Add the rose extract to taste.
- For assembly, fix the bottom layer of cake to a stand or board with a small amount of buttercream. Spread the top with a generous amount of the buttercream, roughly 3 tablespoons. Add the second layer and repeat, and again with the final layer. Cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream to crumb coat then chill for 30 minutes to set firm.
- Split the remaining buttercream into thirds. Dye one third deep pink, one third light pink and leave the last third white. Spread the white buttercream over the top and sides of the cake then with a clean spatula, spread the deep pink around the bottom third of the cake then spread the pale pink buttercream between the white and deep pink buttercream. Clean your spatula and smooth the cake, removing any excess buttercream as you go. Decorate with crystallised rose petals (these are easily made by lightly brushing the rose petals with egg white then sprinkling with caster sugar).