Unless you have been deprived of all contact with the outside world for the last 24 hours (in which case, you probably won't be reading this), you will have heard that Britain's Prince William has finally popped the question to his long time love, Kate Middleton, and they are now engaged. The Australian media has gone into a frenzy, and my favourite morning show has devoted a large chunk of its airtime for the last two mornings talking about. Channel Nine even had a doco about Kate and William in the can that they trotted out last night, bumping out The Big Bang Theory. Whether you were upset by this or not depends on your point of view (I don't generally watch anything at that time, so it was fine by me). You can read about the engagement of the year in numerous places, including here and here.
In honour of Kate finally snaring her prince, I decided to make a cake inspired by the lovely Ms Middleton. She is an English rose, so I made Dorie Greenspan's Ispahan loaf cake from Around My French Table. Ispahan desserts were created by Pierre Herme, and are rose-flavoured and coloured, complemented by raspberry accents. Dorie's loaf cake takes the rose and raspberry elements of the Herme Ispahan desserts and translates them into cake form. The cake itself is created by creaming butter with sieved almond meal and icing sugar, combined with an egg, 3 egg yolks, and a teensy amount of rose-syrup flavoured milk and rose essence, then folding through some plain flour and 3 egg whites beaten into stiff peaks with a bit of sugar. In Dorie's original, the batter is interspersed in the cake pan with two layers of three rows of fresh raspberries to give the cake a fruity heart. If you are intrigued, you can find the recipe in Around My French Table, and you can take a sneak peak at what the cake looks like here.
In keeping with the rose theme, I substituted the raspberries for pieces of Frys Turkish Delight, a chocolate coated, rose-flavoured confection - err, well, that was the idea. Unfortunately, the Turkish delight pieces all sank to the bottom of the cake pan, and nearly welded the cake into the pan. After a few anxious minutes, the cake did come out of the pan, but the Turkish delight layer stuck steadfastly to the bottom of the pan, leaving only a few vestigial pieces in the cake itself. Initially I was rather peeved, but I took a deep breath, let the cake cool, then levelled off the ragged part where the Turkish delight had been, and slathered the cake with rose-flavoured buttercream (using one quarter of the Crabapple Bakery's vanilla buttercream recipe (50g butter, 2 cups icing sugar, 1/8 cup milk and beaten until fluffy) tinted pink and flavoured with a quarter of a teaspoon of rosewater essence). I then piped a rose and a border, together with Kate's name, on the top of the cake, and accented the border with silver cachous. Yeah, the rose is not the greatest, but I can't draw let alone pipe a rose, and I didn't have any rolled fondant to make 3D roses.
Here is a glimpse inside the cake:
The English Rose Cake has a lovely, light crumb, and the rose flavouring in the cake itself is so minimal that I didn't really notice it. Accordingly, those who fear the "floral" flavours in food can rejoice and tuck in happily to this cake - there is no soapy aftertaste. I also made sure that the icing was not overpoweringly rose-flavoured either - it was a subtle, almost musky flavour.
Congratulations to William and Kate - I wish them all the best for their future together.
In closing, I would like to thank Cath of Dunnn to Perfection, who has awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award:
I won't pay it forward to specific people; instead, I pass on this award to all of my Tuesday with Dorie friends, with whom I share experiences making the same Dorie recipe once-a-week.