Rosewater cake recipe

(238 ratings)

This pretty rosewater cake takes an hour to make and is a wonderful option for Mother’s Day, birthdays or bake sales as it’s easy to slice.

rosewater cake topped with icing and pistachios and dried roses
(Image credit: Alamy)
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time40 mins
Total Time1 hours
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories370 Kcal19%
Sugars36.9 g41%
Saturated Fat9.7 g49%
Protein4.5 g9%
Fat17.2 g25%
Carbohydrates49 g19%

Our rosewater cake has a delicate flavour and looks almost too pretty to eat. Each slice is under 400 calories and it takes 40 minutes to bake.

The batter for this rosewater cake is made in one large bowl so there’s minimal washing up. You can decorate the cake with nuts and rose petals or keep it simple and top with a plain icing if you prefer. The cake takes around 40 minutes to bake in the oven, make sure the oven is at the correct temperature before you put it in to cook. 


  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 level tsp baking powder

For the drizzle:

  • 90g granulated sugar
  • 4-5 drops rosewater

For the decoration:

  • 100g icing sugar
  • Pink food colouring, optional 
  • 25g pistachios, chopped
  • Dried or fresh rose petals, optional 




  1. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Grease and line a loaf tin with a strip of baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl add the flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and baking powder. Use an electric whisk to beat the ingredients until smooth. If it’s a little thick add a tablespoon of milk.
  3. Transfer to your prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes. The cake should be shrinking from the sides and be risen and golden in colour.
  4. Meanwhile make the drizzle. Combine the sugar with 45ml water in a small pan. Heat until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has thickened a little. Remove from the heat and stir in the rosewater.
  5. When the cake is out of the oven, use a skewer or sharp knife to poke some holes all over. Pour over the syrup while the cake is still hot and allow to soak in while in the tin. Allow to cool completely then remove from the tin.
  6. To decorate the cake, mix together the icing sugar with 3tsp water in a small bowl. Add the pink food colouring until the desired colour is achieved. Drizzle over the cake and decorate with fresh or dried rose petals and chopped pistachios, if liked.

Top tips for making rosewater cake

Rosewater cake has a delicate floral taste that can be a little divisive. If you like Turkish Delight it’s likely you’ll enjoy the subtle flavours of this cake. If you’d like some more ideas on how to use up the rosewater from this recipe read our tips below. 

What can you do with rosewater?

Try adding a dash of rosewater to some vanilla custard and serve with a plain sponge cake and some roasted pistachios. You can use rosewater in the icing for other bakes or add it to your next batch of cookie dough. Rose, white chocolate and raspberry are a wonderful combination. 

How does rosewater taste?

Rosewater has a delicate floral flavour which is complimented by sweet and sour ingredients like lemon, honey and sugar. It’s best to use it sparingly as too much and your cake can taste a little soapy or medicinal. 

What does adding milk to cake batter do?

Loosening your cake batter with a little milk will lighten the texture. You want the cake batter to have a reluctant dropping consistency. That means when you put some of the mixture on a spoon it should drop back slowly into the bowl and retain its shape before moulding back into the mix. If your batter is too thick it will be difficult to spread into your tin and also may not rise as well. 

An electric hand mixer will make preparing this cake a breeze. If your one is looking a little tired and needs replacing, consider this one from Kenwood. 

Kenwood Hand Mixer - View at John Lewis 

Kenwood Hand Mixer - View at John Lewis 

Kenwood’s compact hand mixer is light and easy to use. We are sure it will quickly become one of your most used pieces of kitchen equipment. There are five speed settings and the mixer also comes with a dough hook attachment to make light work of kneading bread or pizza dough. The beaters are made from durable stainless steel and can be washed in the dishwasher.  

If you like loaf cakes you must try our classic lemon drizzle cake. It’s one of the most popular recipes we have on the rise. You might also like our rose and raspberry cake which makes a wonderful alternative birthday cake or our rose and pistachio cupcakes are perfect for picnics.   

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.