Rebel this weekend with Fiona Cairns’ cake recipe

Been on the salad and soup all week? Then it's definitely time to treat yourself with a slice of White Chocolate and Cardamom Rosewater sponge, complete with crystallised petals and white chocolate curls. Follow the delicious recipe by Fiona Cairns, author of BAKE & decorate here...

This is very delicately flavoured and the tastes of white chocolate, cardamom and rosewater marry beautifuly. For the ganache, Fiona recommends using white Swiss chocolate.

Serves 8

Ingredients for the cake 

130g unsalted butter, softened plus more for the tin

20 green cardamom pods

170g self-raising flour

100g white chocolate, chopped

130g white caster sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ganache 

100g white chocolate, finely chopped

100ml double cream

2 tsp rosewater

For decorating 

250g fresh raspberries

200g icing sugar, sifted

2-2 1/2 tbsp rosewater

100g white chocolate, broken into pieces

12 crystallised pink rose petals


You can make this cake in a heart-shaped tin measuring 23cm at its widest point and 6.5cm deep, but otherwise use a 20cm diameter, 7.5 deep, round tin.

Method for the sponge 

1. Preheat the oven to 180degreesC/170degreesC/gas mark 4. Butter the tin very well, then line with baking parchment.

2. Deseed the cardamom pods: split them with the point of a knife, empty out the little seeds and grind them to a powder in a pestle and mortar. There may be a few pieces of husk mixed in, so sift the cardamom powder together with the flour to remove them.

3. Place the chocolate in a food processor with half the sugar. Process until as fine as possible. Take 2 tbsp hot water - not boiling water or the chocolate will seize - and leave it until you can just dip in your finger. Dribble it into the chocolate, processing until most has melted. Add the remaining sugar and the butter, cut into knobs, and process well. Add the eggs, flour and vanilla and mix again. Don't worry if there are any tiny pieces of chocolate left in the batter.

4. Pour into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Rest in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack, removing the papers. Leave until absolutely cold.

For the ganache

1. Place the chocolate in a bowl and, in a pan, bring the cream and rosewater to the boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, leave it for a few seconds, then gently stir until smooth. Leave until cold, chill slightly, then whisk until it thickens.

To decorate

1. Split the cake in half and invert so the flat base forms the top. Fill with the ganache and raspberries and top with the second layer of cake.

2. Place the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add the rosewater, mixing all the time until the icing is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour over the cake and let it drizzle down the sides. Allow to set for an hour or so.

3. To make the chocolate curls, place a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Add the white chocoalte to the bowl and heat until it melts, stirring only very occasionally. Pour it on a plastic board, or a piece of marble, and spread out with a palette knife. Allow to set; a short spell in the refrigerator will help.

4. Run a sharp fine knife at a 45-degree angle across the chocolate (or use a vegetable peeler) and it will curl. Too cold and it won't work; too soft and it will need 15 minutes or so back in the refrigerator. You'll have to experiment.

5. Scatter the cake with the chocolate curls, then with the rose petals.

BAKE & DECORATE by FIONA CAIRNS is published by Quadrille.

Photography © LAURA HYND


For beautiful furniture, accessories and daily design ideas for your home and lifestyle,
shop at ACHICA.

Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor