Nothing like fragrant, sweet, pink Rose Milk Cakes to bust mid-week blues! 😉
As a little girl, I always thought of rose as a luxury. It’s funny, because I knew nothing about how much it costed or in what form it was bought. It was the rareness of that invigorating sweet scent that made it special.
On some evenings after a good play with our friends, my brother and I would ascend the stairs to our second floor apartment to find tall glasses of chilled rose milk dotted with black puffed basil seeds waiting for us. We were used to drinking hot Horlicks – a malted milk drink – every evening, so man were we happy!
Then there was Christmas, when mum would make the most divine coconut sweet scented with rose – a fudge-like treat that we never really found made in anyone else’s home. What makes it more special is that it’s a recipe passed down from my grandma, whom I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting/knowing. It’s all sugar, sugar and more sugar, but to this day it remains my favourite Christmas candy!
Oh and how can I forget Gulab Jamun? Every Indian kid’s favourite dessert! These Desi fried milk dumplings soaked in rose scented sugar syrup were everything and more. They were opulence to my childhood taste buds. Not to mention, so rare, we waited eagerly for parties to feast on them. Here’s a fab fusion Gulab Jamun Cheesecake that you HAVE TO make! 😀
Only when I hit my 20s did I realize that rose is everywhere in the culture and traditions of the Middle East, where I grew up. It’s in their perfumes and homes; and most importantly in their food.
Though my experiences with rose in food are limited, somewhere down the line, this floral flavour has etched its presence in my soul. Now I find myself searching for it and exploring it in food like I never have!
Before we dive into these lush, soft-as-a-cloud Rose Milk Cakes, here’s the recipe…
This recipe makes 12 mini cakes. Here’s what you need:
For the Sponge Cakes:
- All Purpose Flour – 80 g
- Baking Powder – 3/4 tsp
- Salt – a pinch
- Eggs – 3, large, whites and yolks separated
- Granulated Sugar – 60 g
- Rose Extract – 1 and 1/2 tsp
- Whole Milk – 30 ml
- A drop or two of pink food colouring
For the Milk Mixture:
- Whole Milk – 750 ml
- Granulated Sugar – 80 g
- Heavy Whipping Cream – 2 tbsp
- Rose Extract – 1/2 tsp
- Heavy Whipping Cream – 200 ml
- Edible Dried Rose Petals
Here’s how to make these sublime Rose Milk Cakes:
For the Sponge Cakes:
- Preheat the oven to 175 °C/ 350 °F. Generously grease a cupcake pan with butter/non-stick baking spray.
- In a bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder; whisk and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and 40 g sugar until frothy and pale yellow. Stir in the milk, pink food colouring and rose extract. Sift the flour into the egg yolk mixture and stir until just combined.
- In a clean bowl, beat egg whites on high speed. When soft peaks begin to form, add in the remaining 40 g sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks are formed.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until smooth and well-combined. Pour batter into the prepared cupcake pan about three-quarters full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once done, cool the cakes for 10 minutes and then turn them over on to a rimmed platter/ storage container. Leave to cool. (If you find that the cakes are sticking to the pan, run a blunt knife around the edges to loosen them and turn over)
For the Milk Mixture:
- While the cakes are baking, bring the cream, milk, sugar and rose extract to a slow boil. Take it off the heat.
- Cover the pot and allow the flavour of rose to infuse into the milk.
- Once the cakes have cooled a bit, use a skewer or fork to pierce the surface. Then, slowly drizzle the warm rose milk on top of the cakes, and watch as it is soaked up. Leave to cool completely for 30 minutes.
- Beat the whipping cream on high speed until soft peaks form and the cream is of frosting consistency.
- When most of the milk has been absorbed, slather/pipe the whipping cream on to the cake and finish off with dried rose petals. Refrigerate for a few hours. Serve chilled!
- While the cakes bake, resist the urge to open the oven door repeatedly. This will cause the air to escape and the cakes will turn into flat bricks, not airy sponges. When the 15 minutes are up, take the cakes out, test them with a skewer and if not cooked through, bake them for another 4-5 minutes.
- Once baked, if you find that the cakes are sticking to the pan, run a blunt knife around the edges to loosen them and turn over.
- The cakes will puff up and rise in the oven. But when taken out, they will sink considerably. Don’t let this alarm you. Trust that they are as soft as can be.
Picture this. You’re home after a long day and you dig your fingers in a plush stress ball. Only its dreamy floral scents make you feel like you are floating. And a plus – it’s edible! And delectable at that! I know an edible stress ball metaphor is probably not the most relatable, but trust me on this. That’s the level of softness and the kind of relaxing experience we are aiming for with these Rose Milk Cakes.
Fluffy, pillowy and airy, these tiny cakes soak up sweet rose milk only to give a dessert that is a pure sensory experience. Sitting pretty on a plate, these pink cakes topped with pearl white whipped cream and crushed rose petals are a sight for sore eyes. Walk a few steps closer and that luxurious fragrance engulfs you. Dig in, and you see gorgeous syrupy milk ooze as the spoons cuts through the sponge. Place the portion on your tongue and that cloud-like feel of the cake instantly surprises you, while the sweet, aromatic flavours coupled with the array of textures are like fireworks in your palate. Heavenly!
I highly recommend this experience, for it is one of those times I feel like I’ve outdone myself. It’s a rare flavour and probably something of an acquired taste. I get it. It is unusual. But it is divine. Incredibly so.
Before I decided to make these Rose Milk Cakes, I was experiencing a bit of an uninspired spell. But while I gently folded those whipped egg whites into the cake batter, I found myself calming, easing up with every swirl of my wrist. As I tipped the rose extract into the batter, I was excited; enlivened only in a way a truly marvellous scent can render. And when I took a bite of these beauts, my did I realize what happiness should taste like! ❤
The family LOVED these Tres Leches Cake inspired Rose Milk Cakes. Dad refused to try them; always a bit picky, it was probably the pink hue that put him off. But we didn’t coax him either. Because really, it was his loss. And that meant more cake for us! 😛 Mom’s face reflected pure joy with each bite. There were words too – ‘perfect’, ‘so yummy’. The fiancé was pleasantly shook. Not a rose lover, he hadn’t expected the cake to taste so good. Well, to put it simply, he couldn’t get enough!
Make these Rose Milk Cakes. I promise you with every fiber of my being that I haven’t tasted anything quite as magical as them! If you love/like rose in food, and you’re all about those warm, floral, Arabian feels, you’ve got to give this recipe a whirl! ❤
Want to Pin This recipe for later? Here you go…
Psst… If you’d like to, you could come check me out on Pinterest! I pin a tonne of fun stuff – chocolate, lots of dessert, easy weeknight recipes; and home decor (The fiancé and I are curating ideas and little knick knacks for our new home. You can see what we’re looking at on Pinterest.) 🙂
Also, for regular updates on what’s happening in The Foodscape kitchen, follow me on Instagram at @thefoodscape! You’ll love all the deliciousness there, I promise! ❤