The ‘Stop to Smell the Roses’ Cake

Not that a chocolate or an orange flavoured cake doesn’t entice me substantially, but that winter morning demanded a distraction from the familiar. I was fortunate Sumayya Usmani’s ‘Mountain Berries and Dessert Spices’ had sailed from it’s confines of the store and landed amid the cozy comforts of my living room. The author is driven by authenticity and her recipes are brimming with tradition. She paints the book with dishes showcasing the magic of rose petals, cardamom, berries, pistachios and other produce native to her homeland.

The love for baking isn’t new. You know that. Let’s just say this cake is a product of inspiration, madness and wild curiosity. For the sake of nostalgia, accompany me on a trip down memory lane, will you?
In Kannada, there is a phrase – ‘MaTa MaTa MaDHyana’. It refers to blazing afternoons when the sun is at it’s peak, the air warm, the roads desolate and the atmosphere blanketed by laziness. These breezy summer afternoons in the 80’s and early 90’s meant mom-made orange candy set in little ice cube trays or mom-made lemonade with pungent hints of cardamom and a tinge of salt. They were special treats stored away for school breaks only. These drinks were rarely(I mean, really rarely) punctuated with a rose drink that many of you are familiar with, RoohAfza. The cool hit from the floral notes of rose intertwined with sugar and hued in a deep fuschia-red was nothing short of a celebration on lackadaisical Banglaorean afternoons. Then there was also the coveted, ‘Rose Milk’. Another blush toned concoction that got the tastebuds singing.
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Finally one morning , in the present day, I wondered why I have absentmindedly ignored this mellifluous flavour. If anything, my cakes deserve to feel special! The previous evening was spent scouring for rose petals. A Chinese market bottled thousands of tiny rose buds meant to be steeped in tea. I bought a handful and chalked up a simple recipe.
This egg free cake is entangled with rose petals and mildly laced with cardamom. Dousing the cake, is a simple sugary rose glaze. Bear in mind, this cake is brimming with the rose flavour. Like an opera singer’s high pitched chorus. Beautiful, at the same time, strong. Hence, I suggest you to feel free to play around with the Rose water measurements. We were happy with the outcome but take it down a notch if you like.
This cake takes me back to a simpler time and parallelly transports me to an ethereal one. One that my taste buds are familiar with and yet oddly, not. I hope you like this as much as we did!
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RECIPE FOR : The ‘Stop to smell the roses’ CAKE (for a 6 inch EGGFREE cake)
INGREDIENTS
For the Cake
3/4th cup Self Raising Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup of Granulated sugar
2-3 green cardamoms powdered with a pinch of sugar
1 tsp Rose water
3 tbsp Oil (I used canola)
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp Vinegar
1/ 2 cup Milk
Dried organic Rose Petals (Optional)

For the Glaze
2-2.5 tsp of water/milk
3/4 cup of icing sugar
1 tsp of Rose water(optional)
A drop of Pink food colouring (optional)
For the Garnish(Optional)
Chopped Pistachios
Dried organic Rose Petals

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. Cut a round piece of parchment the size of the base of the cake pan and keep aside. Grease the entire cake pan and place the parchment to cover the floor of the pan. Then dust the sides with the flour.
3. In a medium sized bowl, bring together the dry ingredients and give it a whisk.(Self        Raising Flour, Baking Soda, Granulated Sugar & Powdered Cardamom)
4. To the dry ingredient mix, add, Oil, Rose water and 1/2 tbsp of vinegar.
5. In a small bowl make buttermilk by mixing milk with 1/2 tsp of vinegar. Once it curdles, add it to the remaining ingredients.
6. Mix well to ensure there are no lumps.
7. Add rose petals(optional)and gently fold it in and pour into the prepared cake an.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by mixing together, icing sugar, rose water(optional)    and milk/water. Add a drop of pink food colouring if you like and keep aside.
10. Once the cake is out of the oven, keep it on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Gently slide a        knife along the sides to loosen it from the pan.Then carefully turn the pan upside down onto a tray to make sure it comes out in one piece.
11. Once completely cool, pour the glaze on the cake and garnish with rose petals & pistachios.

I hope you like this cake as much as we did: )
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52 thoughts on “The ‘Stop to Smell the Roses’ Cake

  1. The recipe of the chai cupcakes you shared, were a super hit with my friends. Divya, being a vegetarian baker, definitely gonna try this one! And yes those orange and cola cubes took back in time 😍 . Was wonderful to read your post . Have a lovely weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh really! I’m so thrilled to hear that Radhika:)Thank you for giving it a try🙏🏻 Please do try this & let me know. Do tinker around with the Rose water measurements if you find it overwhelming:) Thanks for reading! I’m always grateful for your thoughts because I’m such a fan of your work😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If I ever wanted a cake thrown into my face it would be this one! 😉 Another beautiful masterpiece of my favorite vegetarian baking queen! This cake looks just like heaven and the way you describe it is as always mouthwatering! I just looove cardamon and put often some green cardamon in my coffee 🙂 And what a coincidence! I´ve just bought some rose water to make some lemonade after an arabic recipe. Maybe I can scratch up the courage to bake your cake 🙂 I´m not sure where I can get the lovely organic rosebuds though… will have a look around in the internet 😉 Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful poem of a cake with us, Divya – I´m always so happy to find a new post from you in my reader! 😀 xoxo ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah your comments paint my face with such wide smiles! Thank you for these kind words🙏🏻 I’m grateful & humbled:) I’m no baking queen, just a very hungry girl with insomnia 😂 Glad you liked it . Do try it and let me know. You can skip the rose petals because the Rose water will take care of the flavours:)
      I love cardamom too and use it in chai and this recipe is inspired by a Pakistani cookbook:) Rose water lemonade sounds so good!
      Much love to you:) Hugs😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You´re very welcome, Divya! 🙂
        And no matter what you say: for me you are a baking queen!! 😀
        Thanks for the tip that I can skip the rose petals, it won´t look as lovely and beautiful as yours but it´s the taste I´m after anyway 😉
        I love recipes from the Near East and beyond – the flavors are rich without being overwhelming and always soothing to the palate 🙂 Would you give me the title of the Pakistani cookbook? I would love to read it! 🙂
        Have a wonderful Sunday and a beautiful week! Much love to you too! Hugs! 🙂 xoxo 💕🍰

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh you’re too kind🙏🏻This book is called ‘ Mountain Berries & Dessert Spices’ by Sumayya Usmani! I was in love with it with just a glimpse and her writing , her recipes, all very beautiful. I’m totally for fusion food and deep fried & manipulated anything, but most times I just crave for the most authentic dishes passed on by grandmothers and great grandmothers. This book provides exactly that! Hope you can grab a copy:)
        Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks so much, I will look right away if I can get a copy! 🙂 The older I get I find that I want to return to the most basic and authentic recipes, simple and honest food that nourishes the soul as well as the body. The dishes and recipes by grandmothers and great grandmothers are like jewels in my mind but with the advantage that they´re edible 😉 Many hugs! XO ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “Like an opera singer’s high pitched chorus. Beautiful, at the same time, strong.” What an enticing and charming description! This totally took me away. I can also wholly relate with the lazy summer afternoons when we used to enjoy mom-made ice-creams aka candies set in the ice-trays. The recipe smells and sounds wonderful.
    Nice pictures as well… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you for the kind words & taking the time Maniparna. I’m utterly glad you liked it! That really was the best time, isn’t it? The simple life, the happiest one. Thanks once again dearest 🙂
      Much love

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your home, I assume, is a baker’s paradise, Divya and your eye for perfection as you create your delicious baking fantasies is evident in the picture above. My pathetic baking encyclopedia does not include rose cakes, a sure new for me, even the name, but your ‘dreamy’ rosy prose on the story of its creation has awoken my olfactory senses as my taste buds crave a teeny-weeny piece of that delicacy that adorn this post. Thank you for that recipe, Divya. I hope to add it to my baking bucking list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for showering me with these lovely words Pranitha. So kind! Thank you for taking the time and enjoying the read…it means lot to me! I wish I could have shared some with you. Insomnia has its perks…baking like a maniac being one of them;) The Rose flavoured cake is was an epiphany one morning. So it’s like this…any flavour combination that thrills me, has to go into a cake! I can’t help myself 😉
      Do try it and I hope you will like it as much as I did!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your passion for baking is evident, Divya. Mine is somehow limited to plain old chocolate or cinnamon cake… not much of a baker. It’s just that I don’t try and I can always blame my tiny family who are not exactly cake- friendly😒
        Your rose cake is a creative piece that is so fresh and very new to me.
        Is it okay if I request you to mail me a few interesting recipes to my mail pranithap@gmail.com if and when you ever find the time.
        I take this liberty as I have felt you are very very passionate about everything you do and do it with great care and love!
        Happy baking, Divya!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you once again for these very kind words Pranitha! I understand your predicament because before the husband wasn’t a big fan of desserts as well. Not anymore though🙏🏻
        I will be very happy to mail you the recipes my dear😊Positively by the end of this week:)
        Oh you’re from Bangalore too. The Bangalore I grew up in is too special for me. There’s not a day I don’t reminisce the simpler days. I’m glad it made you happy too😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a beautiful write-up. Whenever I read anything about the 90′, I just mentally go back to that time of simple days and hot afternoons. Mum always had lemonade ready for me after I came back from school and Roohafza water on rare evenings was another delight!
    I am sure I wouldn’t make this cake (for my lack of interest in cooking/baking), but your words just have a way with me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you dear Anu, for taking the time and enjoying the read …I’m so glad you liked it…means a lot!
      Ah the 90’s! Defined by simplicity, you’re right! Those refreshing drinks conjure up the best memories:)
      Also, don’t worry if you don’t feel like baking it…you just travel the world darling and when you land here, I’ll have your favourite cake awaiting you:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I visited Niagara recently, how I wished I could cross the border and meet you (for cakes and everything you cook…😛)

        You are a wonderful person, and meeting you is something I would look forward to whenever I visit!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my, Divya, you should come up with your own cooking/baking show, featuring your experiments in the kitchen, trips to the grocery shops scouring for these ingredients, and finally trips to exotic destinations in the world to discover various cuisine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Kat! You’re so kind! But I’m just a hungry girl with insomnia:) But maybe the both of us can create one video of us shopping & cooking when you visit Toronto 🙂 What say?:)
      Your comment reminds me of a wonderful chef who does these same exact things on her show, the talented Rachel Khoo in her little Paris kitchen:) Have you watched her show?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, I have seen bits of Rachel Khoo’s cooking program. If we create a video, I’m afraid there will not be a video eventually because I will end up having the food in my mouth first before capturing them on video, LOL!

        Like

  7. Such a unique cake, had never heard of rose and cardamom before! Trust you to come up with something so different and you do it well all the time. Really admire your talent and passion with cooking, painting, quilling and so many things Divya! Great write up too, enjoyed reading:)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wish there was a send icon! 🙂 You put so much love and effort into each one of your creations. I wish I was held as talented as you. Beautiful captures of a treasured recipe.

    Like

  9. Beautiful cake and the photograph. I could smell the rose and cardamom here😊 By the by Divya you are an in built universal artist😍😍😅. I get amazed in seeing your drawings. Keep inspiring us!

    Liked by 1 person

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