Rose Water Tea Cake, For Two

I’m feeling a combination of romantic + cozy today.

Which is odd, considering I just ate my weight in buffalo wings.

But like a total cheese ball I secretly love the first two weeks of February. The skiing is just getting good, storefronts are camouflaged in hearts and kisses, and there’s a global chocolate sale on the 15th. It’s a cheery, upbeat time in the dead of winter, so I like to celebrate it with something sweet. Nothing too crazy, obviously, since I’m still pretending to diet. But a cute little treat that’s portioned for two, bakes in 30 mins, and definitely involves a few hearts.

Traditional English tea cakes are made with real tea, but I conveniently ignored that detail. Instead I focused on the fact that those same cakes are also meant to be paired with tea at tea time. So this version that I’ve made here embodies the later two components, just not the former! And if you’re too hungover to get this, I completely understand.

The point is this cake is delicate, airy, and perfect for afternoon snacking, boozy brunches, or a light dessert. In keeping with tradition it’s small, and while technically I’m calling this “for two”, you really get about 4 servings. And that’s a good thing, because you’re going to want to eat it more than once.

I skipped using tea here because I wanted all the focus to be on the rose water, which I’ve quickly become obsessed with. It’s a little annoying to obtain — Amazon and Whole Foods both have it — but baking with it is a breeze. Simply substitute it for vanilla extract, and that’s it! Just a tiny dose renders a floral, fragrant flavor that’s aromatic in taste and smell, it’s completely delightful. And if you’re worried this is going to be like eating potpourri, it isn’t. The cake itself tastes like a lighter version of pound cake — think sugary + buttery without being too heavy — so the floral notes are a subtle enhancement, not an overpowering distraction.

Plus, even Dave liked it! And he’s the most difficult customer ever.

With just 8 ingredients + 30 minutes baking this couldn’t be simpler, so don’t be shy! This is pretty impossible to feck up. Obviously I love it as a dessert for two — Valentine’s Day? yass hunni — but it’s great to have around on weekends too. Not to mention that its plain, straightforward nature makes it the perfect palette for some decorating creativity.

Overlay heart stencils before sprinkling with powdered sugar, scatter with rose petals, shower with red sugar glitter, whatever!

Having fun is the most important part.

And PS? This freezes SO well!

Making a double batch is always a good idea. xo

Rose Water Tea Cake

Ingredients:

  • CAKE:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted + more for coating
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsps rose water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • Crisco to grease
  • TOPPING:
  • 2 tbsps salted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsps granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Amply grease an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan with Crisco, then coat with a film of flour.
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, whisking gently to combine. In another, medium-sized mixing bowl whisk the butter, sugar, and rose water until pale and creamy, about 1 minute. Next whisk in the egg until smooth.
  3. Add the flour and milk in alternating doses to the butter mixture until just combined — Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the greased and floured loaf pan, then bake on oven middle rack for 30 – 35 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the cake with melted butter, then sprinkle with the granulated sugar, then the powdered sugar. Serve immediately or enjoy at room temperature for a week! Goes great with champagne, mimosas, or tea.

made with love, fo’ sho.

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