On Sunday I shared my mum's rose water, and as it's been so long since I tasted cake, and I had that dream over a week ago about a delicious slice of cake which has haunted me ever since, I decided to go through the rose water process again to create a purer finish and use it to make naturally-flavoured rose cakes.
I sourced my ingredients locally, too, with dairy and eggs from the Sunday farm market, so I'm quite certain they're even better than they would be otherwise. Because ethics.
For the cakes:
100g local butter, softened
50g unrefined sugar, like Billington's
2 local eggs, medium
100g all-purpose flour (or whole meal for more nutrition*)
1 tsp baking powder
50ml local milk
For the filling:
strawberries (or local strawberry jam)
100ml local cream
1 tbsp unrefined sugar
* it won't taste or feel like bread, I promise!
1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and grease or line a square cake tin.
2. Cream together the softened butter and the sugar, then add the egg.
3. Combine the flour and baking powder and sieve into the mixture a little at a time.
4. Mix in the milk and the rose water and combine until it's all thoroughly mixed.
5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin, then put in the oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean - all ovens are different, it may take 25-30 minutes for some.
6. Meanwhile, combine the cream and sugar in a bowl and chill when mixed, then slice the strawberries, setting aside the prettiest and neatest slice of each for the top of the cakes.
7. When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and cut it through the middle. Use a long, sharp knife, or a cake leveller.
8. Cut the cake then into fingers and set them on a plate or serving tray. Remove the top halves and set them down beside them, but don't place them upside down. The lovely golden 'skin' will get stuck and peel off - I learned this the hard way.
9. Arrange the strawberries along the bottom half of the cake fingers
10. Transfer the cream into a piping bag, ideally using a flat nozzle just to ensure you don't go overboard, then pipe a line down the middle on top of the strawberries.
11. Place the top half of the cake finger on top, then pipe a dollop of cream on the end and set the strawberry on it. I made too little cream because someone stole it, along with some strawberries, so I had only enough to fix the slice in place, not stand it up.
Serve immediately or store in the fridge. The strawberry juice will soak into the bottom half of the cake in about 5-6 hours, and while it tastes divine, it's a bit impractical to eat with fingers, so if you're keeping them overnight, set them in long, narrow paper cases or on strips of trimmed baking paper so they're easier to lift, but spoons may be required, as well as a fork to stab at greedy, sticky hands.