Serves 10 to 12
This rose-scented cake is perfect as the shower’s grand finale. If you don’t have rose geraniums in your garden, look for plants grown organically from a garden center or herb farm. If you purchase geranium plants to use in this recipe, give the plant as a gift to the bride-to-be as a wonderful way to remember her shower. Recipe adapted with permission from An American Herb Garden (Macmillan, 1993) by Maggie Oster.
• 1/2 cup milk
• 16 rose geranium leaves
• 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
• 1/4 cup warm water (100 to 115 degrees)
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 4 large eggs, at room temperature
• 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1/2 cup rum or orange liqueur
• Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish
• Rose geranium flowers, for garnish
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, 6 of the geranium leaves, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the geranium leaves.
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and the warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cream the butter, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the yeast and milk mixtures and the flour. Beat until smooth. Cover and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 11/2 hours. Stir down.
Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan and line the bottom with 6 rose geranium leaves, spacing them evenly. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Cover and let rise until the dough reaches the top, about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cake until firm, golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, make a syrup by boiling the remaining sugar, the water and the remaining geranium leaves together for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, then remove and discard the geranium leaves. Stir in the rum.
When the cake is done, turn it out onto a baking sheet with sides. Remove the rose geranium leaves from the cake and prick the top of the cake with a fork. Slowly pour the warm syrup over the top and let the cake soak up the syrup until the cake is cool. Transfer the cake to a serving platter, fill the center with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with rose geranium flowers.
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