1 small jar of rose petal jelly (or any red fruit jelly)
For the rose butter cream
500g icing sugar
250g soft butter
1 tsp rose water
A few drops of natural pink colouring
A little milk
For the frosted rose petals
A handful of pink or white rose petals
1 large free-range egg white, lightly beaten
55g caster sugar
Approximately 50 white chocolate sticks or scrolls
Make the frosted rose petals the day before you make the cake. Holding one petal at a time, paint both sides with egg white and sprinkle caster sugar over it. Using tweezers gently shake off the excess sugar. Dry on a wire rack or on a sheet of baking parchment — leave 24 hours to dry. If you don’t have time to frost the petals you can use them au-naturel or you can buy commercially made ones.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Butter two round 18cm cake tins and line the base of each with a circle of non-stick baking parchment.
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks and mix well. Sift the flour and baking powder over the cake mixture. Fold in as lightly as possible, using a large metal spoon. Fold in the ground almonds, the almond essence and the pink colouring (enough to give a delicate rose pink shade to the cake).
Whisk the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks. Fold them into the cake mixture carefully in three batches.
Divide the mixture between the tins and spread it evenly with a slight hollow in the centre. Bake for 15-20 minutes, when cooked it will feel springy to the touch.
Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cake is cooking, make the butter cream. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the butter. Beat with a hand mixer for a couple of minutes. Add the rose water, pink colouring and just as much of the milk as you need to achieve a creamy spreadable texture.
Slice the cooled cake into four layers. Spread one layer with butter cream and one with rose-petal jelly and sandwich together. Spread the top (of this sandwich) with butter cream. Take a third cake layer and spread with rose-petal jelly and place on top with the jelly-side down. Spread the top with butter cream. Repeat with the fourth layer, finishing with a topping of butter cream. Neatly spread the remaining butter-cream around the sides of the cake.
Position the white chocolate sticks all around the outside of the cake. Just before serving, sprinkle with the rose petals.
Note:I sometimes fill the cake with fresh raspberries, cream and rose petal jelly or raspberry jam instead of butter cream.
Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to three days — although the rose petals won’t last this long.
Carolyn Robb is the former chef of Prince of Wales Charles and Princess Diana. This recipe is from her book ‘The royal touch: Simply stunning home cooking from a former royal chef'. The book costs Dh163 at Kinokuniya Bookstore and Dh178.75 at Magrudy’s.