The rose cake it is a dessert that owes its name to the shape of the dough, made up of a series of roses scented with rum and filled with raisins and hazelnuts. In fact, it has the consistency of a pan brioche, soft and light, perfect for an enveloping breakfast or a tasty snack. Traditionally it is made in the shape of a heart and the reason lies in its romantic origin.
How the rose cake was born
The origins of the rose cake date back to the end of XV century when it was created by the chef Cristoforo di Messisbugo for the wedding between Isabella d’Este and Francesco II of Gonzaga. The dessert achieved such great success that from that moment it entered the Mantuan gastronomic culture and to this day it is still one of the most consumed and prepared desserts in the areas between Mantua and Brescia.
A very elegant cake inspired by the beauty of the girl it was originally intended for, with its shape resembling a basket of rose buds and arranged in a circle until the heart-shaped mold is filled. Traditionally it is prepared in spring, but it is always good at home.
Rose cake: original recipe
To prepare the rose cake, start with thedough: on a pastry board, mix the sifted flour, the yeast dissolved in the milk and a spoonful of sugar. Everything is mixed and then rolled to form a ball which, covered with a cloth, must rest for half an hour.
After this leavening period, the remaining sugar, the softened butter cut into small pieces, the lightly beaten egg and the salt can be incorporated into the dough. The dough then goes worked further until a very elastic dough is obtained and, if necessary, add a little flour.
Ready dough must be rolled into a ball, covered with a towel and left to rest for another hour. After this second leavening time, the dough must be divided into 2 portions equal and roll them out with a rolling pin to obtain two long rectangles.
Apart, you have to prepare the ingredients for the filling, soaking the raisins in rum, carefully squeezing them and coarsely chopping them. Once the lemon zest has been grated and the hazelnuts chopped, everything is mixed together, including the rum, the rose water and the slightly beaten eggs are added.
The filling should be spread on the 2 rectangles of dough which are then rolled up and cut into slices about 5 cm high. the slices should be placed side by side in a buttered mold, to be covered with a cloth to let it rest for half an hour before cooking for 30 minutes in the preheated oven at 200°C.
Rose cake is usually served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar but it can be filled with creams like Nutella or custard.
The secrets for an excellent rose cake
The cake of roses involves the use of fresh brewer’s yeast but can be replaced with dry brewer’s yeast (4 grams will be enough). In fact, the leavening gives this cake a high and soft consistency, which would not be possible without yeast.
As for the other ingredients of the recipe, it must be considered that the milk temperature it must be warm; therefore, it must not be hot but not cold from the refrigerator either. Even the burro it must be soft, therefore it is advisable to use either a loaf just purchased from the supermarket or to take it out of the fridge at least 2 hours before using it.
This cake can be preserved wrapped in transparent film in the fridge for 3 days or in a cake holder which allows you to keep the humidity and does not dry it out too much, but it is very good especially when freshly made.
The variants of the rose cake
The cake of roses is a sweet preparation, born as a cake to celebrate a couple in love. However, it is also possible to prepare a savory rose cake, which becomes a fluffy rusticwith the flavor of ham combined with that of green olives and scamorza.
However, even the sweet version has variations. Those who don’t appreciate raisins, for example, can try the heart-shaped apple rose cake, where the apple slices become fragrant rose petals that garnish the cake.
However, there is also a sweet recipe simple rose cake without raisins, but scented with lemon and simple to make, the cake of roses made with flour, butter and eggs.