This Victorian Rose Pound Cake recipe is an adaption of one that I found scrawled in the back of one of my oldest cookbooks. Its delicate, unique rose flavor is perfect anytime you’d like a light dessert or an addition to your tea menu. The flavor of this cake is best if you make it a day ahead of time.
For this recipe you’ll need: almond meal, food grade rose water, almond extract, butter, sugar, salt, egg whites, cake flour
If you are in a hurry click here to go straight to the recipe.
I’m in the midst of updating this post from 2008. The recipe is amazing, I just need to reshoot the images. Give it a try – it’s so good! June 2016
I love antiques! Just about any time we pass an antique shop I have to stop and go in, wander around looking at all of the items and wondering about the stories each could tell. I love thinking about the people that once used the item, who they were, and how the whatever-it-is ended up in the shop. The things I like best are the cookbooks. So many times I’ve found recipe notes carefully printed next to a recipe or scrawled on the back flyleaf in a faded spidery hand. I almost always try the recipes to see what they are like, how they taste, what role they might have played in a long ago meal.
I’ve learned that people’s ability to taste different flavors was much more sensitive than ours — I blame chemicals and an overabundance of sugar and salt in our diets. The desserts tend to be lighter and less sweet with more of the actual flavor shining through. I’ve also learned that the flour was different, the leavenings were different, and other ingredients were different so sometimes adjustments are necessary. You may have discovered this for yourself — trying to recreate grandma’s recipe for chocolate cake and having it come out dry and crumbly.
The texture of this rose pound cake is a little drier and lighter than regular pound cake because it is leavened with egg whites and no yolks. It keeps the cake light in color and texture. It really important that when you are folding in the whipped egg whites that you do so very carefully because it will cause the cake to be tough and not rise much.
The original recipe called for blanching almonds as a first step. This begins with almond meal to cut that step. If you’d like to try it the original way start with unblanched almonds.
How To Blanch Almonds
Put the almonds in a microwave safe bowl with water to cover.
OR bring to boil on the stove.
Microwave until water comes to a boil and then remove the bowl from the microwave.
Let cool completely.
Remove almonds and slip off the skins.
Let dry thoroughly.
Process in food processor until coarsely chopped.
Proceed with the recipe.
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- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup food grade rose water
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, , room temperature
- 2 cups super fine sugar, , or run sugar through the blender
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 egg whites, (about 1 1/2 cups), room temp.
- 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
- Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Set aside
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Add the almond meal, rose water, and almond extract to a food processor.
- Pulse until the mixture is a coarse paste
- Set aside 1/3 cup of the egg whites.
- Add the remaining egg whites to the bowl of a mixer.
- Beat until foamy then slowly add 1/2 cup sugar while continuing to beat.
- Continue beating until soft peaks form.
- Remove whites from bowl, or use a second beater bowl.
- Beat the butter until creamy.
- Add the sugar and continue beating until smooth and graininess is gone.
- Scrape the bowl and beaters and beat 2 more minutes.
- Add in almond mixture, reserved 1/3 cup egg whites, and salt. beat until thoroughly mixed.
- Now add in the flour by hand mixing well. You can use a mixer but adding by hand will keep the texture more delicate.
- Once the flour is incorporated into the butter, start adding the beaten egg whites in.
- Fold in 1/3 of the whites to lighten the batter and then fold in the remaining whites carefully.
- Spoon the batter into the loaf pans and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Start checking for doneness after an hour.
- When done the cakes will have a crack in the top and a toothpick will come out clean.
- Let cool for 20 minutes in the pans, then loosen from the pans and turn out to finish cooling.
- Wrap and leave at room temp for 24 hours for best flavor.
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