Rose & Lychee Cake by Juliet Sear

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  • Serves


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  • Dietary Needs

    • Vegetarian
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Our friend Juliet Sear is a baking expert, cook, food stylist, TV presenter and best selling author. Juliet has shared a few recipes with us from her book 'Botanical Baking' published by F&W Media International 2019.

I really struggle to choose my favourite cake from this book… but I think this may be it. It tastes like rosy heaven and it is stunning. To crystallise all those petals will take a couple of hours, but I think it’s worth the effort! I’ve created an ombre effect from cream to pink, but you could tailor this to suit any colour scheme.


Enjoyed baking this recipe? Why not try one of Juliet's other recipes taken from her book? We have Botanical Chouxnuts, Orange & Almond 'A Touch of Frosting' Cake and Spring Flowers Bundt Cake.


  1. Strain the lychees and set aside the syrup.

  2. Cut the lychees into quarters and dry them between paper towels.

  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.

  5. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and then fold them into the creamed butter mixture, pausing from time to time to add part of the 100ml (31/2fl oz) reserved lychee syrup, until that is all incorporated too.

  6. Fold half of the prepared lychees into the batter.

  7. Portion the batter into two greased and lined 15cm (6in) round baking tins.

  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes

  9. While the cakes are baking, prepare your buttercream. 

    Just as with calculating cake batter quantities, if you need more than the 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) of buttercream that this recipe makes, just multiply all the amounts. It’s worth making more than you need because running out before your cake is fully covered is something of a nightmare, so err on the side of generous when calculating amounts.

  10. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, or the bowl of your mixer. I use Silver Spoon icing sugar as there is no need to sift, but some other icing sugars may need sifting into the bowl to avoid lumps.

  11. Set your mixer on a low speed, otherwise you will dust your entire kitchen in powdery icing sugar! Beat the ingredients together until they are pale and smooth. At this point you can add a little just-boiled water, a tablespoon or so at a time, on a low speed and then raise the speed to high. This helps to make the icing paler and more creamy. Add the rose water and the remaining lychees to it.

  12. Once your sponges are baked and have thoroughly cooled, layer the sponges with buttercream between them, then crumb coat the outside of the cake with buttercream using a palette knife.

  13. Apply a thicker layer of buttercream for the crystallised rose petals to adhere to. This layer doesn’t need to be completely smooth as it will be covered by the petals.

  14. Starting on the top of the cake, apply the palest crystallised rose petals in a circle.

  15. Continue to apply petals in circles of increasing size, gradually changing the petal colours as you get to the sides, until you reach the base with the darkest petals.

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