Rosewater has been used in Middle Eastern cooking for centuries, but it is relatively new to us in the west. A little of this exotic flavour goes a very long way, its heady flavour bringing to mind the colourful bazaars of the east and longed for rose scented breezes. It is the perfect foil to raspberries and pistachios, and makes this a wonderful cake for summer, either as a special dinner party dessert or served with black or mint tea during long hot afternoons in the garden.
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon rose water
(Don’t be tempted to use more, it’s strong stuff - but if you don’t have any the cake still tastes lovely if you use 1 teaspoon vanilla instead)
1 cup low fat raspberry yogurt
¾ cup ground almonds
1½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1 cup raspberries, washed and drained thoroughly
additional raspberries and roughly chopped pistachios to decorate
Grease and flour (or line) an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Preheat oven to 350℉ or 170℃ (160℃ if you have a fan oven).
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the rosewater and the yogurt.
In s separate bowl, combine the ground almonds, flour, baking powder and pistachios. Stir thoroughly to mix. Gently fold in the raspberries.
Add the flour, nut and raspberry mixture to the bowl containing the wet ingredients all at once. Fold through gently but thoroughly.
Put the batter into the baking pan and bake for 25 to 40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for a bit before removing it to a wire rack to cool completely. You can then frost it.
Just cream ¼ cup softened butter with 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar) and then add ¼ teaspoon rosewater - or 1 teaspoon vanilla - and enough cream (usually about 2 to 3 tablespoons) to make a soft, spreadable icing. You might even want to use food colouring to tint the icing the palest shade of pink. Sprinkle with the extra pistachios and pop some of the additional raspberries on top.