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This not-overly sweet chiffon cake filled with rose-scented whipped cream is inspired by the aromatics found in Persian, Turkish, and Indian confections. Cardamom seeds have more flavor than the ground powder and are like little explosions of spice in the cake. From Bon Appetit, June 2005. I would recommend baking it in one 8 x 3 inch cake pan (for approximately 40 minutes) and slicing into three layers. You can also use more filling between the layers (1 1/2 to 2 cups), otherwise there will be a lot leftover. Preparation time does not include candied rose petal drying.
Candied rose petals
- 2 large egg whites
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- rose petal, from 2 organic roses
- 1 cup cake flour
- 14 tablespoons baker's sugar or 14 tablespoons superfine sugar, divided
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1⁄4 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1⁄4 teaspoon whole cardamom seed, coarsley ground if desired (removed from about 5 green cardamom pods)
- 2 1⁄2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 pinch saffron thread
- 2⁄3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 2 tablespoons natural unsalted pistachios
- For candied rose petals: Whisk egg whites in small bowl until foamy.
- Using pastry brush, brush rose petals on both sides with egg whites; sprinkle on both sides with sugar.
- Dry on nonstick rack at least 6 hours or overnight.
- For cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides.
- Line pan bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment.
- Sift flour, 7 tablespoons baker's sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Whisk yolks and next 4 ingredients in small bowl until smooth.
- Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk until smooth.
- Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add 7 tablespoons baker's sugar; beat until whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff.
- Fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans.
- Bake until cakes are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
- Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes.
- Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely (Can be prepared 1 day ahead- Wrap and store at room temperature.).
- For frosting: Combine 1/2 cup cream and saffron in small saucepan- Bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes.
- Chill until cold.
- Beat remaining 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream- Beat until peaks form.
- Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over.
- Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
- Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. Garnish cake with rose petals and pistachios.
This made a good, but not great cake. I made it exactly as directed, and the directions were easy enough to follow, and the texture of the cake is wonderful - light, airy, and melting. I would go easy on that 'pinch' of saffron - too much, and it tastes like new car smell, which doesn't exactly go with the rosewater and cardamom. It's a nice change from a traditional chocolate cake, but the flavors were only just 'okay' to me.
I was really torn with how to rate this...I got the recipe from Bon Appetit and thought WOW! I HAVE to try this... it's a fair amount of work. It made for a beautiful presentation, especially if you take the time to candy the rose petals, however I had some issues with the frosting being too soft and not really setting up, (maybe if I had used a touch of unflavored gelatin to stabilize?) The cake itself kind of left me a little flat. It's not a bad cake, and the flavor is exotic, but it's a lot of work for not quite the result I wanted. I will take some of these ideas and put them into other recipes though.