Victorian Rose Geranium Cake

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Prep: 50 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

For the Cake:

16 to 18 rose geranium leaves, rinsed and patted dry

2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for the pan

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups sugar

6 large egg whites

For the Frosting:

4 rose geranium leaves, rinsed and patted dry

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

5 drops red food coloring

Directions

  1. Infuse the butter for the cake: Rub 6 rose geranium leaves to release the oils. Wrap the leaves around the butter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Infuse the sugar for the frosting: Rub 4 rose geranium leaves, then combine with 1 1/2 cups sugar in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature overnight.
  3. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Rub the remaining 10 to 12 leaves and arrange in the pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, 3/4 cup water and the vanilla. Unwrap the butter and remove the leaves. Beat the butter and 1 3/4 cups sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the egg whites, two at a time. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Pour the batter into the pan; bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; invert the cake onto a rack and remove the leaves.
  4. Make the frosting: Remove the leaves from the sugar. Put the sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and 1/3 cup cold water in a large heatproof bowl and beat with a mixer, 1 minute. Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the food coloring and beat until spreadable, about 2 minutes. Spread the frosting over the cake.

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