So, this might come as a shock, but in March I auditioned for The Great Australian Bake Off! I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone much about it – in fact I’m fairly nervous about publishing this post. I think I can tell you this, but I’m still wary because I know I signed a legal document about something, I just didn’t read the part about what I’m allowed to post on social media…here’s hoping I don’t get sued.
But I think I can at least tell you that I auditioned. And I did. And it was so much fun and such a hectic week, but it was a great experience! And the people were genuinely lovely. And I’m not just saying that in case I get sued. They really were so lovely and friendly and welcoming! So kudos to them for being great! But I should probably tell you now, I didn’t get in. But that’s fine, there’s always next year!
Point is, this is a cake that I made for my audition. It’s not the most elaborately complex or beautiful cake, but it is one that I am proud of and so, so in love with (which, by the way, is a huge deal for me – I generally am not that impressed with things I make slash invent). I decided that it wasn’t worth going into the audition pretending that I was the sort of baker who could and did do crazy-elaborate, gravity-defying cake monstrosities, because I’m not. I like pretty and dainty cakes. So I thought that it would probably just be shooting myself in the foot to try to be some sort of baker that I’m not.
This recipe may seem familiar – it’s very similar to the best gluten free cake I’ve ever made. The idea (the blissful and undeniably perfect combination of strawberries and rosewater) is basically the same, but this cake is very much not gluten free, and I think, has been refined and improved, if I may say so.
I wouldn’t blame you if you read that and thought, ‘ugh, rosewater, what an awful flavour.’ It’s not a flavour we use much in Australia, and if you have tried it before it’s probably been in Turkish Delight (am I right? I thought so).
But take a chance. This is one of my most favourite cakes at the moment. It’s not only a strawberry and rosewater flavoured cake, there are real strawberries in the cake! It’s like a perfect butter cake, with extra sweet, soft, luscious moist strawberries in there too (see, generous cakes are the best)! Plus it is wrapped in a silky soft rosewater infused buttercream. Seriously. It’s good. Just try it.
Strawberry and Rosewater Cake
Adapted from Bake by Women’s Weekly
Strawberry Couli Ingredients
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rosewater
415g caster sugar
1 tbsp rosewater
400g SR flour
100g almond meal
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt (optional)
125g butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons rosewater
For the strawberries:
- Place the strawberries in a small saucepan with the sugar and rosewater. Cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes or until they are soft and a bit gooey. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
For the cake:
- Line three 17-20cm cake tins with baking paper or foil (if you only have one of these sized tins, bake the cake in batches or just fill one tin as much as you can without it exploding, and the slice it into layers later, or use two tins and do the same thing).
- Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced.
- Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer until pale and fluffy – actually! Keep beating until the colour has changed to a very light yellow and the sugar is starting to dissolve.
- Add the rosewater and the eggs, and beat until fully combined, this may require some scraping.
- Add the flour, almond meal, yoghurt (if using) and milk, half of each, then the other half and mix slowly until it’s fully combined.
- Carefully stir through the strawberries and place in tins and bake for 20 minutes or until the cakes are firm to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
For the frosting and assembly:
- Beat butter for a few minutes until soft.
- Add icing sugar and rosewater slowly and beat until pale – almost white!
- Now trim the cakes so they are the same size, and slice them into layers if need be.
- Set the bottom layer of the cake on the serving plate and slather the top with icing. Place the next layer on top and repeat the process with all the layers of cake.
- Once all the layers are aligned, use the remainder of the frosting to cover the outside of the cake.
- Top with fresh strawberries and serve.
Store in an airtight container for 24 hours, or in the fridge for a few days.