April has always been my favorite month. Warm weather, spring vibes, the extra dose of happiness in the air, and oh yeah, my birthday (nbd.) It’s a big one for me this year (25!), and while I usually feel like each year is better than the last, I’m using my silver birthday as a time to reflect – so this month’s editorial theme of growth seems especially fitting.
Growth happens in retrospect – you don’t realize you are going through a period of growing until after it happens and you realize you’re exactly where you needed to be.
For me, this last year has been about embracing the things that I may not have always loved about myself and realizing that they make me exactly who I’ve always wanted to be. It’s been about admitting that the things I’ve never felt that I could do are really the things that bring me the most joy and make me feel like the best version of who I am. I’m finally taking on projects that feel like a true reflection of what’s most meaningful to me.
One of the things that has been a real spark for me in this period of growth has been surrounding myself with people who not only embrace, but celebrate the things that make us different. So, as an ode to not just my birthday, but to all the people that have made me who I am during the past year, I put together what might just be my new favorite cake recipe brings in the flavors I love the most from the Indian cuisine I grew up with.
Rose and cardamom are the two flavors I always think of when I reminisce on the desserts my parents would make for us growing up.
The floral sweetness in cardamom pairs so well with rose, and I tossed in some orange zest for an extra dose of brightness and zing that goes so well with cardamom as well.
The cake itself is super light and tender, and after baking so many different cake recipes, I truly think that a recipe that uses buttermilk is 100% superior to any other recipe.
The recipe actually makes two 8 inch cakes, but my new favorite way to decorate cakes is just single layer of frosting. I’m no cake decorating professional, so this is just the most simple way to decorate and it just looks really inviting for people to slice into. I know it looks like the layers of frosting and cake are equal in this situation, but if you covered the sides of the cake as well, there really wouldn’t be any difference. Besides, my philosophy is that if you’re eating cake, the more frosting, the better! Enjoy!
For the cake:
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp fresh ground cardamom
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 tbsp rose water
For the frosting:
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp rose water
- pinch of salt
- Food coloring as needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line 2 8inch cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, add the cardamom, orange zest and sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers, the sugar mixture should feel like sand and be fragrant. Add the butter but don't combine yet.
- In a large measuring cup, add the buttermilk, egg whites, and rose water, whisking together until combined.
- Using a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar mixture until it's light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl halfway through to make sure everything is combined.
- Turn the mixer to a medium speed, and alternate between adding the flour and buttermilk mixtures, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, and scraping the bowl halfway through. Mix until just combined, do not over mix the batter.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans and place on the middle rack of your oven.
- Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, checking for doneness around 30 minutes. The cakes are done when a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack. When cool, flip the cakes out of the pans and let cool completely before frosting.
- To prepare the frosting, add all of the ingredients into a stand mixer and whip together until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl down halfway through.
- Decorate cakes as desired, enjoy!
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