I’ve somehow managed to hoodwink myself into believing if something contains fruit, it’s a health food.
This cake has raspberries in it, so it’s a fruit salad. Kay?
Well when it tastes this good, the experience is worth the lie. God forgive us. The best thing about this cake, other than the fact it is the most non-fruit salad fruit salad ever, is that is as easy to make as it is charming to look at.
If you didn’t want to be fancy pants, you could totally do away with the rosewater additions (and rose petal garnishes) and just have it as a raspberry cake, no one would judge you, but I love the quaint theatre of it all.
I listened to a bluesy Billie Holiday song while I strew this cake with rose petals and felt I was ad a 50’s wedding, showering a bride with good wishes. Imagine throwing a full on cake at a bride. I die.
Now this cake won’t give you the crumbly, bitty crumb you’d probably expect from a buttercream affair. It’s a vegan cake which means the sponge is springy but damp, and all the better for it. This is a remix of a vegan cake found in Nigella Lawson’s ‘At My Table’ book. The lack of eggs means this cake is held up with an architecture built around coconut milk and the muscle combo of bicarb and vinegar.
I believe the Queen Nigella uses a lemon constructed bicarb mix in hers which I am all for (and have used several times), but I didn’t want any flavour notes kicking around the delicate, perfumed whisper of rose water so I did away with it completely.
I have used a rosewater infused cream cheese frosting here which does mean you have to leave the cake cool completely and even put in the fridge for a little bit before serving, but that’s only if you want the celebratory feel of a covered cake. The actual cake, once cooled slightly from the oven, makes a gorgeous naked tea cake with all of its pink kissed raspberry flecks.
Preheat the oven to 160c and grease/line a loose bottom 20cm cake tin.
In a big ass bowl, combine 225g of plain flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of bicarb and a little pinch of sea salt. Rustle everything up with a fork.
Now in a big jug, pour in 150ml of vegetable oil with 150g of caster sugar and 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Pour in 275ml of coconut milk (from a can) and whisk everything together. Don’t worry too much about the coconut milk and whether to use the thick bit, the water bit etc… so long as it’s 275ml of the stuff, you’ll be fine.
Add a splash of rose water and mix in.
Now pour the wet into the dry and whisk everything together to a pale batter.
On a chopping board, lay out 150g of frozen raspberries and with a knife, chop up into small, pink rubble. The reasons we’re chopping it up is so that the raspberries float throughout the sponge as opposed to sinking to the bottom of the batter in big chunks.
Scrape the chopped raspberries into the batter and mix in.
Pour the batter into the lined/greased tin and bake for 45 minutes until the top is turning golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when dipped into the sponge.
Leave to sit in the tin until it cools, it will sink slightly but don’t panic – that’s what happens when there’s no eggs!
When the cake has completely cooled, remove the cake carefully from it’s tin (it’s quite a damp cake so do be careful) and place on a cake stand.
You could just serve, but I like to smother in my Rose Water Cream Cheese Frosting, and if so you do, read on.
In a big bowl, combine 100g of room temperature butter and 100g of icing sugar. Cream these together with an electric whisk or a normal whisk and an enthusiastic forearm. Now add 50g of full fat cream cheese and whisk in. Once it’s incorporated, add another 50g of cream cheese and whisk in again.
Add one teaspoon of rose water and fold in.
Now carefully start spreading this mixture on top of the cake and gently gesturing the cream out to the edges with a rubber spatula or palette. Continue doing this, gently pushing the cream down the sides of the cake. Carefully twirl the cake stand like a ballerina with one hand, all the while holding your spatula in one place on the side of the cake so that it smooths the edges.
Once the entire cake it covered, pop it in the fridge to stiffen ever so slightly. Just before serving to people, sprinkle with a generous gesture of dried rose petals.