English rose cake

A stunning floral layer cake, flavoured with rosewater and layered up with vanilla cream, raspberry icing and crystallised petals

  • Prep:1 hrs 15 mins
    Cook:40 mins
    Plus cooling and drying
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 665
  • fat 33g
  • saturates 20g
  • carbs 84g
  • sugars 58g
  • fibre 2g
  • protein 7g
  • salt 0.7g


  • 350g butter, softened
  • 500g golden caster sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 200g full-fat natural yogurt
  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rosewater
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 1-2 tsp rosewater (depending on your taste)
  • 85g raspberries, defrosted if frozen, plus 100g to decorate
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300ml double cream
  • rose petal pieces and crystallised rose petals (see step-by-step, above), to decorate


Assembling the cake

If you want to assemble the cake a few hours before serving, sandwich the layers and top with the icing, then pop in the fridge to keep the cream chilled. Remove from the fridge and add the rose petals and raspberries just before serving.

Making your own rose petals

Spread caster sugar over a saucer, then lightly whisk an egg white in a small bowl. Holding a petal with tweezers, paint both sides with egg white. Spoon sugar over, then shake off the excess. Dry the petals on baking parchment for 3 hours, or a day before if you can.

Rose water

...is a traditional English ingredient, often used in Middle Eastern food too. Available in most supermarkets, some lower-priced are very diluted and lack flavour. This means you have to add a lot, making the icing and cream runny. We like Nielsen-Massey rose water.

Buying rose petals
If you would rather buy ready-crystallised rose petals to decorate your cake – or other crystallised flowers – there is an incredible variety available at meadowsweetflowers.co.uk. We bought rose petal pieces from melburyandappleton.co.uk. Tips for a professional finish

When sandwiching the sponges, tip the cream into the centre, then use a palette knife to swirl towards the edges. Avoid over-whipping the cream, as you’ll still be working it and causing it to thicken. Don’t go too close to the edges as the weight of the sponges will squash the cream and cause it to ooze out.

Making your own rose petals

Rose petals are edible, as long as they haven’t been sprayed or treated with pesticides or other chemicals. We suggest you buy an organic variety, or pick your own from your garden. 



  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line the base and sides of 3 x 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tins with baking parchment. Tip all the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk until well combined. Divide the mixture between the 3 cake tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 45 mins, swapping the tins halfway through so they cook evenly. Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tins, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  2. To make the rose syrup, put the sugar in a pan with 100ml water and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bubble for 1-2 mins, then remove from the heat. Add the rose water: start with 1 tsp and taste, as some varieties are much stronger than others – just be careful as the syrup will be really hot. Spoon half the syrup over the 3 sponges and set aside.

  3. Add 2 tbsp of the syrup to the raspberries and crush them with a fork. Push the raspberries through a sieve into a bowl and discard the seeds. Sift in the icing sugar and mix to a smooth icing. In a second bowl, add another 2 tbsp of the syrup and the vanilla to the cream and whisk until it holds soft peaks. Chill until needed.

  4. To assemble, place one cake, flat-side up, on a plate or cake stand, and top with half the cream and a third of the remaining raspberries (see tips, below). Sandwich another cake on top and add the remaining cream, another third of the raspberries, then the last cake. Smooth the raspberry icing over the top, letting it drizzle down the sides. To decorate, we used a mixture of rose petal pieces (available from cookshops or online), homemade crystallised rose petals (see step-by-step, above) and the reserved raspberries.

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