Rose Water Pistachio Cake

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This cake is just so pretty and such a far cry from the rustic desserts I normally share. I’m a lover of everyday desserts, crumbles, pies, brownies and generally lack the patience for fussing with more dainty sweets. This cake however was in my mind PERFECT for a celebratory Mother’s Day lunch at my place!


I had a version of this cake when living in London. Rose water was a new ingredient to me at the time and even today, I’m still learning about all sorts of new culinary uses for it.

This cake was a bit experimental but based on my niece’s reaction (and feedback my other taste testing moms), I think it’s a keeper! Smells and tastes like a bouquet of roses…mmm…


Also a great opportunity to use some of the violets from my garden while they are in season.


The addition of the yogurt makes for a crumb that is lovely and moist. If you can find pistachio liqueur or essence, add a touch to amp up the pistachio flavor.

Rose Water Cake with Pistachios

Sugared Violet flowers


  • 8-10 Violet flowers (in tact) or 1 untreated rose (petals removed)
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 Tbsp white sugar

Blitz the sugar in a food processor until very fine. Set aside in a small bowl.


Beat the egg white until frothy and using a pastry brush, lightly paint both sides of the flowers or rose petals and toss in the sugar. Set aside on a piece of parchment paper until completely dried


  • 100 g shelled pistachios + another 10 g reserved for decoration (optional)
  • 55 g ground almonds
  • 120 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 150 g butter at room temperature
  • 180 g white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp rosewater

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8 inch pan and line the bottom with parchment.

In a food processor, blitz the pistachios, almonds, flour, baking powder and soda until the pistachios are ground. Set aside.

Beat the butter until softened. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs beating in between each addition.

Add half the reserved flour and nut mixture and incorporate by hand. Stir in the yogurt, lemon juice and rosewater trying not to deflate the batter too much. Add the remaining flour and fold through.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the edges of the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Rosewater Glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp rosewater
  • 1 Tbsp milk

Pour the rosewater and milk over the icing sugar in a small bowl. Using a small wire whisk, stir until a thick glaze has formed. Add more milk one drop at a time if required or a bit more icing sugar if the mixture is too runny.



Place the cooled cake face down on a cake stand or serving plate. Pour the glaze over the cake and allow some of it to spill over the edges. Allow the glaze to set for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Note: Glaze the cake on the plate you plan on serving it on. The glaze will crack if  you move the cake post-glazing. See the cracks above…


Chop the remaining pistachios, if using. Sprinkle the prepared rose petals or violets on the cake followed by the chopped pistachios.


Serve with a small dollop of sweetened whipped cream if desired.

Serves 8-10


    • Sorry Paintedbaker! I promise more gluten-free treats and recipes! :) Still have to post the flourless cake that I made for your birthday.

    • Thanks! Sorry, we only saved your a tiny little piece. I can make it again though if you help to shell the pistachios. :)

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