Wild Strawberry and Rose Petal Cake

Summer cakes need to be light and delicious, or they can sit too heavily on the digestive system. This airy, sweetly fragranced cake is ideal for a picnic or a summer birthday.


  • 275 grams plain flower
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 150 grams room temperature butter or margarine
  • 180 grams caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • 100 ml skimmed milk.

Topping And Filling

  • 80g rose petal jelly
  • 80g wild or wood strawberries, half of them sliced, half left whole
  • 150ml double cream or reduced fat crème fraiche
  • 50ml Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar.

Rose Petal Jelly

  • 500g (by volume) fresh scented rose petals
  • 500ml water
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater
  • 500g preserving sugar with added pectin.

Preheat the oven to 180 C, gas mark 4. Oil and then flour a 20cm non-stick cake tin or silicone baking dish, either round or square will work with this recipe.

Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until light and then beat in the eggs, adding a little at a time and if they show any sign of curdling, add a soupspoon of the flour mixture and continue beating until the mixture is smooth. Then stir in the rosewater using a metal spoon and a figure of eight movement.

Once the rosewater is incorporated, fold in the flour mixture and milk, using the same method and adding a spoonful of each alternately until fully blended.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and level the top with a spatula or palette knife.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the centre of the oven until well risen and light gold and springs back to the touch when pressed – do not let the cake overbrown as this impairs the delicate flavour. Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes in the tin before turning out to cool completely.

Warm the rose petal jelly (see below for instructions for making the jelly) slightly in a microwave or set the jar in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for ten minutes.

For the filling, whisk cream or crème fraiche, yoghurt, 1 tablespoon rosewater and icing sugar until soft peaks form. Split the cake and sprinkle both cut surfaces with the remaining rosewater.

Spread the warmed jelly over the base of the cake, top with half the cream mixture, then sprinkle the sliced strawberries over. Put the remaining layer on top, spread with remaining cream and dot the rest of the strawberries over the surface.

Making Rose Petal Jelly

Making your own jelly is much easier than you might think. Pick rose heads and strip off the outer petals, removing insects and cutting away any green parts or yellow stamens. Wash and pat dry.

Put petals and water in a large pan and bring to the boil before simmering for 20 minutes. Strain through a sieve and cool. Discard the petals.

Add the lemon juice to the water and it will change colour to a rosy shade. Pour it back into the washed pan and add the sugar and rosewater. When the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and use a sugar thermometer to check the mixture reaches setting point or if you don’t have a sugar thermometer, boil for around ten minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then pour into sterilised jars and seal. When pouring, tilt the jars and pour the hot jelly down one side so that no air bubbles form. When it has been standing for five minutes, lift each jar and tap the base smartly against a folded tea towel on the work surface. This removes any trapped air.

This jelly keeps, when sealed, like any other jam and holds its scent magnificently but it can lose that intense aroma quite swiftly when opened so it’s worth planning how to use up an entire jar quite quickly.

Additional Tips

Don’t pour the mixture into the tin as this can knock some of the air out of the mixture and stop it rising so much.

Rosewater is very fragrant so you don’t need much to give your recipe a delicious taste and aroma.

500 grammes of rose petals will usually be around a colander full, loosely packed. Red petals tend to have the best colour to give to the jelly but yellow and pink petals are also usable. White roses tend to have no colour and low scent, so they should only be used sparingly.

If your rose petal jelly has a scum or lots of white bubbles on the surface, there’s no need to skim it which wastes the product. Simply add a dot of butter about the size of your little fingernail to the top of the pan while it is cooling slightly and the bubbles/scum will break down and disappear when the jelly is poured into the jars.

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