Rosewater and Cardamom Cake

Photographer: Kate
Serves 6-8

Roses are one of my absolute favourite things in the world. Inspired by a childhood spent playing outside in the garden, I am completely enamoured with the beautiful flowers and their sweet scent. Both of my Grandmothers have beautiful rose gardens, and I have spent many happy days with them over the years pottering around in the garden and picking flowers to take home.

My first experiment using rosewater in baking was a raspberry and rose jam which I made for Christmas last year. I loved the subtle fragrant flavour the rosewater added, and since then I’ve been dying to try it out in more recipes.

While looking for a wheat-free cake recipe, I stumbled across this one by Nigel Slater, which I adjusted slightly for simplicity and personal taste. The recipe calls for rosewater and cardamom, a lovely combination that gives this cake a delicate aromatic flavour. This cake is perfect to enjoy on a sunny afternoon, served with natural yoghurt and a cup of your favourite tea.


220g butter, softened
220g caster sugar
275g ground almonds
3 eggs
150g polenta, fine grade
1 tsp baking powder
2 lemons, juice & zest
½ tsp cardamom seeds, ground

1 lemon, juice & zest
5 tbsp clear honey
¼ tsp cardamom seeds, ground
2 tbsp rosewater
Sliced almonds, icing sugar and spray-free/food-grade rose petals to decorate


1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C on bake. Line a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (either in a mixer or by hand). Add in ground almonds and mix to combine.
3 .Lightly beat eggs with a fork, then stir in to the mixture.
4. Crush the cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Combine with polenta and baking powder in a bowl.
5.Juice and zest 2 small lemons. Add the juice and zest to the cake mixture, then fold in polenta, cardamom and baking powder.
6. Pour the mixture into the cake tin, levelling the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes at 180°C, then turn down heat to 160°C and bake for a further 25-30 minutes until the top is golden.

1.Once you have taken the cake out of the oven, begin making the syrup.
2. Crush the cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle until finely ground.
3. Heat lemon juice, honey and cardamom in a saucepan, dissolving the honey and then bringing to the boil. Boil for 4-5 minutes until it forms a thin syrup. Remove from the heat and add rosewater.
4. While the cake is still in its tin, spike holes in the top using a skewer, then pour the warm syrup over it.
5. Leave to cool, then remove from tin and decorate with icing sugar, sliced almonds, and rose petals. Serve with natural unsweetened yoghurt.