A chocolate rose cake infused with wild Nootka roses & rosewater, frosted in vanilla bean whipped cream
It’s late spring in southern Oregon, and the wild roses have begun blossoming all over. They dot the roadsides and the forests in pink and white. Every year when the wild roses come back, I start to get inspired to come up with some new flavor ideas for cakes. Roses have such an irresistible smell – floral and a little bit spicy. Their pink hue almost looks unreal, it’s so bright. They are one of my favorite wild flowers to include in baked goods. They beg to be steeped in cream and whipped into butter. Shortbread, scones, and cakes are some of the best uses for these precious little beauties.
Luckily for me, this time of year also happens to be my best friend’s birthday. You know those people that have been hanging around you since you were young and awkward and confused? The ones that have gotten into all kinds of trouble with you?? The people who have been there for you, and been there with you through all kinds of craziness and drama and hilarity? Well, that’s her. These kind of people deserve a special cake on their birthdays, wouldn’t you agree?
I knew I had to make her something she’d never had before – and like I said, she’s been around me for a while, so she’s had a LOT of cake. Inspired by the abundant wild roses and confident in her love for them as well, I started there. I’ve made wild rose cakes for her before, with lemon or with elderflower pastry cream, but this year called for a chocolate rose cake.
I wanted to keep it simple and elegant to let the flower be the star of it all, so as not to get lost in the other flavors. Nothing but chocolate, rose, and vanilla. Roses were added in just about every place that I deemed reasonable. Flowers were ground into a fine dust. They were steeped in hot water and in cream. I splashed rosewater into mixing bowls of chocolate unmercifully. And then I put it all together.
Say happy birthday to your Gemini friends with this special chocolate rose cake… And let me know if you have a favorite rose recipe!
Chocolate, Wild Rose, & Vanilla Cake
A chocolate rose cake infused with wild Nootka roses & rosewater, frosted with vanilla bean whipped cream
chocolate rose cake
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups boiling water
- 1/4 cup dried roses
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp rosewater
- 1 tbsp rose powder
- 5 ounces unsalted butter soft
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
chocolate rose ganache
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tsp rosewater
vanilla bean whipped cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean scraped
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cake:
Butter two 8" cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. Preheat the oven to 350F. Sift the flour, soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
For rose powder, grind a handful of dried roses with a little sugar in a coffee or spice grinder or mortar and pestle until it is a fine powder. Place chocolate, cocoa, and rose powder in a medium bowl. Steep the dried roses in the boiling water for 5-7 minutes, then strain into the chocolate bowl. Whisk until combined and smooth; add rosewater.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping sides down with a spatula in between. Mix until well combined. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix.
Add about 1/3 of flour mixture into butter mix and gently combine. While mixer is running, pour half of the chocolate mixture in. Repeat with flour, chocolate, and end with the last 1/3 of the flour mix. Divide batter between the two prepared cake pans and smooth out. Bake until set and just done, about 30-38 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Scald the cream. Pour the scalded cream over the chocolate, let sit one minute, and then whisk to combine. Add rosewater and whisk in gently.
For the whipped cream:
Whisk together cream, vanilla bean seeds, extract, and sugar until soft peaks form.
Layer cake with ganache and whipped cream in between the two layers. Use remaining ganache to coat the outside of the cake in a thin, even layer. Chill. Frost lightly with the remaining whipped cream. Chill until ready to serve. Best if allowed to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before eating.