Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Rose And Pistachio Cake

Rose and Pistachio Cake

A few teaspoons full of rosewater, a handful of pistachios and a scattering of rose petals elevate this simple cream filled sponge to something exotically redolent of a Persian flower garden.

Some sugared rose petals are always gorgeous on any cake flavoured with rosewater: just paint the petals with egg white, toss them in a bowl of caster sugar and lay to dry on kitchen paper in a warm, dry place for 6–24 hours, until crisp.

Perfect for The Big Lunch on 18 June – this shareable treat will add pizzazz to any Big Lunch table. The Big Lunch is the UK’s annual get together for neighbours, an idea from the Eden Project made possible by the National Lottery. This year, The Big Lunch will be held on Sunday 18 June as the highlight of The Great Get Together weekend.

Ingredients
For the cake:
230g salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
180g light muscovado sugar
4 tsp rosewater
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, beaten
160g potato starch
3 tsp gluten free baking powder
160g ground almonds

For the filling and topping:
225ml double cream
1 quantity rose buttercream (see page 236), or extra whipped cream
50g pistachio nuts, finely chopped
Fresh or crystallised rose petals (optional)

Method
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Line the base of the cake tins with discs of baking parchment and butter the sides.
2 Cream the butter, sugar, rosewater and vanilla extract together in a bowl with an electric hand whisk or balloon whisk until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition. If it looks like the mixture is starting to curdle, add a couple of tablespoonfuls of the potato starch and beat again – it should come right.
3 Sift the potato starch, baking powder and ground almonds together over the mixture and fold in gently but thoroughly.
4 Scrape into the prepared tins and gently level the surface. Bake for 25–30 minutes until golden, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5 Leave in the tins for 10–15 minutes, then run a thin bladed knife around the inside of the tins. Turn out the cakes and place, right side up, on a wire rack. Leave to cool.
6 When the cakes are completely cold, whip the cream until thick, but not grainy. Put one of the cakes onto a plate and spread the cream almost to the edge. Place the other cake gently on top and twist it back and forth a little, just until the cream is peeking out between the layers.
7 Pipe or spread the buttercream over the top of the cake, or top with more whipped cream. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and scatter over a few fresh or crystallised rose petals if you have them.

Recipe taken from River Cottage Gluten Free, published by Bloomsbury, £20. Photography © Laura Edwards

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