Jane Asher's garden festival cake

Treat garden party guests to a slice of this light and airy summer cake, specially created to support the first ever National Gardens Festival Weekend on 15-16 June. Serve with a few raspberries or strawberries.

Serves: 12
Preparation time: 1 hour plus overnight drying time
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes


For the cake
125g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
3 large eggs, separated, plus 1 extra white
50ml water
50ml vegetable oil
1½ tbsp rose water
1 tsp rose extract
1 tsp cream of tartar

For the icing
85g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g full fat cream cheese, cold from the fridge
500g icing sugar
1tbsp (25ml) rose water
1tsp (5ml) rose extract

To decorate
Sugared rose petals and chopped pistachio nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 175 °C (gas mark 4).

2. Lightly grease two 20cm cake tins and line the bottoms with baking paper.

3. Mix together the flour and 100g of the sugar in a bowl.

4. With an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks, water, oil and rose flavourings together until pale in colour and foamy. Add the flour/sugar mixture and mix gently until smooth.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until they form soft peaks, then gradually add the remaining sugar and keep whisking until stiff but not dry.

6. Fold the egg whites into the batter in three or four additions then divide the mix between the prepared cake tins.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

8. Cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes, then loosen around the edges of the tins before turning out onto a rack. Carefully peel off the parchment and leave to cool completely before icing.

9. To prepare the icing, place the butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until really soft. This is important, or you will find little lumps of butter in the finished icing.

10. Add the chilled, drained cream cheese and beat together until blended, adding the rose flavourings as you do so. Don’t over beat or the cheese will become too soft.

11. Add half the sieved icing sugar and beat together, then add the remainder and beat again.

12. Keep the icing in the fridge, but allow to come to room temperature before using.

13. With a palette knife, spread one cake with about a quarter of the icing and sandwich the two cakes together. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake, then decorate with the rose petals and pistachio nuts.

To buy sugared edible rose petals and rose flavourings online, go to janeasher.com  

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