I do love a good three day weekend. I was still sitting on the sofa in my pyjamas at 10.30 this morning. I had a doughnut for breakfast and am contemplating nothing more today than a quick trip to the garden centre to replace the lavender that I managed to kill (clearly, I’m having some mixed successes when it comes to my balcony garden…).

I appreciate a long weekend at any time of year but there’s something particularly splendid about this first one in May. In the last week or two, it feels like we’ve definitely segued from spring to early summer. Even on days like today when it’s a little overcast and threatening to rain, it’s still warm enough to go without a coat.


In celebration of this glorious time of year, I’m taking part in a little virtual potluck today, organised by the lovely Renee of Will Frolic for Food. The theme of the potluck is edible flowers which are not, I have to admit, something that I’ve used very often in my cooking before now. Thankfully, some of my favourite bloggers have come together to share a collection of really inspiring recipes – links below; I have my eye on those ricotta and basil stuffed nasturtiums – and it’s really opened my eyes to the world of floral flavours that I’ve been missing out on for all these years.


My contribution to the potluck is this rose cake with roasted strawberry buttercream. In recent years, I’ve fallen more and more in love with the gentle scent of rose and here, it lends a little bit of interest to what is a fairly simple cake. It has the merest hint of rose water; enough to notice but not so much that you feel like you’re eating a bar of soap which is always my fear. For the frosting, I made a swiss meringue buttercream which is, admittedly, a little bit of effort but always worth it. It’s much less sweet than traditional buttercream and the texture is pretty dreamy. It’s swirled through with a roasted strawberry puree; a touch of balsamic vinegar heightens the natural flavor of the fruit. All together, it’s pretty much everything I want in cake.


SWEET: Salted Lavender Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies (via Baking Magique) // Strawberry Lilac Pavlovas (via Dunk and Crumble) // Coconut Golas (Indian Shaved Ice on a Stick) in a Hibiscus Syrup (via EGeeDee) // Mini Pistachio-Rose Olive Oil Cakes with Lemon-Chamomile Whipped Cream (via Fix Feast Flair) // Hwajeon: Sweet Matcha Rice Cakes with Fresh Flowers and Honey Syrup (via Ginger and Toasted Sesame) // Breakfast Sweet Potato with Hibiscus Tea Yogurt & Turmeric Granola (via Vegetarian Ventures) // Lilac Lemon Grapefruit Sherbet  (via Will Frolic for Food) // Lime, Mango and Elderflower Cake (via Top with Cinnamon) // Rose Hokkaido Cupcakes (via le jus d’orange) // Hibiscus, Rhubarb and Yogurt Ice Pops (via The Bojon Gourmet) // Chamomile Honeycomb Ice Cream (via Snixy Kitchen) // Rustic Rhubarb, Strawberry & Chamomile Galette (Gluten Free) (via Vidya Living) // Flourless Chocolate Cake with Orange Blossom Water & Strawberry Champagne Sauce (via A Brown Table)

SAVOURY: Lentil Salad with Browned Butter Baby Turnips, Sourdough Bits, Soft Boiled Egg, Micro Greens + Marigold (via Earthy Feast) // Ricotta & Basil Stuffed Nasturtiums (via Kale and Caramel) // An Edible Flower Luncheon  (via Bread + Barrow)

DRINKS: Raspberry Rose Fizz (via A Little Saffron)


strawberry and rose cake {gluten free}

Yield: A 7-inch cake (serves 8)

I don’t often make swiss meringue buttercream because it involves thermometers and standing around whisking (and an obscene amount of butter but we’ll gloss over that one). Whenever I do make it, I wonder why I don’t make it more often though because it makes such a difference both in terms of flavor/texture but also in terms of ease of use. Roasting the strawberries with a touch of balsamic vinegar really amps up the flavor. It’s particularly useful at this time of year when my excitement at the early fruit that we get isn’t generally matched by their taste. The cake is a fairly basic sponge mix; you can use plain flour instead of the rice flour if you want.


    For the cake:
  • 160g (1 1/3 cups) rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 175g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g (3/4 cup) unrefined caster/granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water (or a little more, if you like)
  • For the frosting:
  • 400g (about 1 cup) strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 175g (3/4 cup) white sugar (to keep the colour pink rather than brown)
  • 300g (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, a little cooler than room temperature
  • Edible rose petals, to decorate


  1. Start by preparing the strawberries. Drizzle them with honey and balsamic vinegar and roast at 180C/350F for about 35 minutes until soft and slightly frazzled around the edges. When cool, thrown them into a food processor and blast until smooth. If you like, you can sieve out the lumps (I don’t generally bother). Set aside until needed.
  2. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F (or whatever you generally bake cakes at) and grease four 7-inch tins with butter. You can use the same amount of batter in 6-inch tins too or increase it to a 4-egg mix and use 8-inch tins.
  3. In one bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until the butter has become pale and the mixture is super light and fluffy. Gently whisk the eggs with the rose water in a mug and gradually add it to the butter/sugar mix. I usually go a tablespoon at a time to prevent curdling and make sure the egg has been fully incorporated before adding the next. Finally fold through the dry ingredients with a gentle but firm hand, trying not to knock too much air out of it. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  4. When the cake has cooled, make the frosting. Place the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan with an inch of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water or you might end up with scrambled eggs. Heat the butter sugar until 70C/160F, whisking all the time. This will take longer than you expect. Once it hits the magic temperature, remove from the heat and beat with an electric whisk or stand mixer until stiff peaks form and the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch; at least 5 minutes if not longer. Add the butter, little by little, beating to incorporate after each addition. Finally fold through the strawberry puree.
  5. Place the bottom layer of the cake on a plate or cake stand with strips of greaseproof paper all round the edges to protect the base. Dollop a generous spoonful of frosting on top of the layer and smooth to the edges. Put another layer of cake on top and continue with the dolloping/layering. Once the cake is assembled, cover with a thin layer of frosting (the crumb coat) and chill for half an hour until dry to the touch. Finally generous spread the rest of the frosting over the cake and decorate with edible flowers.


The roasted strawberry buttercream appeared and was originally adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.

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94 Responses to "strawberry and rose cake {gluten free}"
  1. Eyes wide open emoji – This looks so heavenly! I never would have thought to have added a fruit puree to a swiss meringue buttercream but really fancy trying this :) Hope you have a nice bank holiday Kathryn.

    • kathryn says:

      Thank you Victoria, I hope you enjoyed the long weekend too! And yes, adding fruit to a SMB totally opened my eyes to a whole new world of flavour out there. I’ve tried it with strawberries and raspberries and am excited to see what else I can use!

  2. Liss says:

    Oh, that looks tasty! I do love a strawberry/rose combo.

  3. This is so perfectly lovely! I have to admit, I’ve never done anything with edible flowers either, but this is too good to pass up. Enjoy your weekend love!

  4. This rose cake is so so beautiful Kathryn!! Next time I make a cake I’ll definitely try this cake recipe since it only uses rice flour. You always make gluten free baking sound and look so easy :)

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Thea! I do like using rice flour in cake recipes. When you mix it with a little corn flour, it gives such a lightness that you don’t always get with wheat flour!

  5. Jennie says:

    Such a beautiful cake! I agree rose is a difficult flavour, but just a little and it does add something magical doesn’t it. I love how simple but effective the rose petals are – just stunning!

    Jennie // Scarletscorchdroppers


  6. Sonja says:

    What a lovely cake, Kathryn! I need to make this for my grandmother who has a wheat sensitivity and loves roses. For special occasions we often make her cakes from mixes and I find them so disappointing but this looks beautiful.

    I can empathize with the death of your lavender plant. The only thing I managed to keep alive from last summer’s attempt is my chive. Balcony gardening is challenging!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Sonja, I hope your grandmother loves it if you get a chance to make it for her! And yes, I’m totally still getting the hang of balcony gardening. I veer between flooding my plants and letting them wither away which is not good for their continued health…

  7. Karen says:

    I am a sucker for roses and any edible flowers in cakes and bakes, and this is JUST so elegant! Karen

  8. This is gorgeous, Kathryn! I can’t wait to try this frosting; I’m so intrigued by that little touch of balsamic vinegar in there.

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Michelle! I always add a touch of balsamic vinegar when I’m roasting fruit (any kind of fruit really!) as it just makes the flavour stand out so much more, particularly if your fruit is a bit dodgy ;)

  9. Erika says:

    Oh my.. this cake is so lovely! It would be a beautiful addition to a Mother’s Day Dinner table also.

  10. Alana says:

    Kathryn, this cake is GORGEOUS!! Like mega pretty. I’m such a fan of rose in anything baked and strawberry-rose sounds even better. This is pretty much spring baked up into one big, beautiful cake!!

  11. Cathryn says:

    This looks amazing! I need a slice right now. I made a raspberry and rose cake once and it was so delicious I don’t remember it hanging around for long. I need to try it with strawberries now.

  12. This cake is beautiful and the buttercream just sounds divine! I’ve never worked with edible flowers before but will definitely have to experiment!

  13. Ileana says:

    Such a beautiful cake!! That pale pink frosting is wonderful.

  14. Kimberley says:

    I love edible flowers, and this time of year does the same thing to me. Lovely, as always!

  15. cynthia says:

    How dreamy is this gorgeous cake?! Rose and strawberry sounds like the perfect combination (plus the balsamic, oh my goodness). So beautiful, Kathryn!

  16. This cake looks absolutely incredible, Kathryn! That shade of pink basically makes my heart explode with joy. Spring perfection.

  17. this sounds so delicious! the cake texture looks perfect. i can’t wait to try this out! i’ve never tried a swiss meringue frosting before but you can be sure i’ll be trying yours out when it comes time to frost something! just lovely, all of this.

  18. This cake is beyond gorgeous! Also, so jealous of your 3 day weekend – we have work as usual here in the states. : (

    • kathryn says:

      Yeah, I spent a lot of time reminding my team in New York about how I wouldn’t be working on Monday ;)

  19. Erica says:

    Such a delicate looking cake, especially with that gorgeous natural pastel pink color! I am in love with this cake. And I love the way you captured the light in that final photo, absolutely stunning.

  20. Well this has officially made me want cake for dinner. This is such a stunner, the flavors are just perfect together, and I am now determined to make my first swiss buttercream. Such a beautiful job! xx

  21. Amanda Paa says:

    What a divine beauty! It sounds delicious. And yay for long weekends. Sleeping in, a donut for breakfast and a little garden time – perfection. Now if you could only teach me how to make swiss meringue. I’ve always struggled with that one. And so many gorgeous and delicious posts with the virtual flower potluck! xo

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Amanda! I struggled the first few times to make SMB but there’s a really helpful tutorial on Sweetapolita’s site which was super helpful : )

  22. Sophia says:

    It definitely took me a while to get into floral flavours – I used to find them all too soapy. But now, if balanced well with other flavours, floral flavours like rose can be wonderful. I adore a drop of rose water when making a raspberry lassi but have yet to pair it with strawberries. Your cake looks and sounds spectacular and now that strawberries are finally popping up at the markets here, I will definitely try the strawberry rose combo!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Sophia – raspberry is a bit of a classic combination I guess (and I love the sound of that lassi!) but it’s nice with strawberries too.

  23. Kate says:

    Roasted strawberry buttercream is MY FAVOURITE. Such a beautiful cake. Love this.

  24. Angela says:

    I love the flavour of rose and it lends itself so well to other flavours. This cake looks beautiful and the inclusion of balsamic vinegar is really interesting, I’ve heard it goes well with strawberries.

    A stunning cake!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Angela! You can’t really taste the balsamic vinegar in this but it definitely makes the strawberries taste more like strawberries!

  25. Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen says:

    This is probably the most beautiful potluck ever! I’m so in love with all these posts, including yours; I can imagine you enjoying this on your balcony on a sunny spring day. We still have to wait for those warm days (I think 17’C was the best we had this spring), but I truly can’t wait for spring and summer to finally begin!

    • kathryn says:

      Isn’t it just?! There are some seriously stunning posts out there! Hope you get some warm weather soon : )

  26. Oh goodness, this is a gorgeous cake! You had me at roasted strawberry buttercream! And balsamic, and gluten free! I am just in awe.

  27. A long weekend in the beginning of May sounds just perfect. And so does this cake! I love the roasted strawberry touch. This potluck is gorgeous and I’m excited to be inspired to use edible flowers more from all these lovely recipes! Hope you’re having a nice start to your week this Tuesday morning, and yay for warm summery feeling days <3

    • kathryn says:

      We have one at the end of May too – two of the reasons why May is one of my favourite months! Happy early summer to you too Jessie : )

  28. Tanya says:

    Looks beautiful and delicious!

  29. So amazing!! I love it – I’m having so much fun going through everyone’s contributions to the edible flower potluck, and this – I’m so in love! and SO MUCH EXCITEMENT for that roasted balsamic strawberry frosting! I did a similar thing for ice cream, but for FROSTING? I can’t stop with the caps because it’s THAT exciting and genius. Wow. The possibilities for frosting just opened up!!!!

  30. My sister and her boyfriend are coming to visit next weekend – he follows a pretty strict gluten-free diet. I’ve never baked a gluten-free anything before – I guess just the thought kinda intimidates me. But this cake! So fluffy, light and soft looking – like melt on your tongue loveliness + the strawberry and rose combo sounds like a dream! I must make this!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Grace – I totally get what you mean about gluten free baking but it’s way easier than you might think. I hope you get to try this cake and you all love it <3

  31. Chaya says:

    What a beautiful cake. I’ve always wanted to experiment with baking floral flavors. I just recently bought lavender, but I’ve found that it needs to be added very judiciously- too much, and it’s overpoweringly soap-like. Would love to try rose.

    • kathryn says:

      I absolutely agree about floral flavours. I’ve made some very odd lavender flavoured things before but it’s great in very small doses. I’ve made a lovely lavender lemonade before.

  32. Hannah says:

    Balsamic strawberry roasted swiss meringue buttercream?! That sounds so so incredible and it looks so pretty.

    A little bit blown away by the incredibly creative recipes from everyone in the edible flower potluck! I have never, ever made anything with flowers (unless chamomile tea counts) but now I have so many ideas for them. I didn’t know they could match so well with so many different flavours… but there ya go! I think the savoury flower recipes are especially cool.

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Hannah! And I totally agree about all the amazing recipes as part of the potluck and, like you, the savoury recipes have particularly caught my intention. I never would have thought to use floral flavours in that way but I’m so inspired to try!

  33. Abby says:

    Oh, this cake is so lovely, Kathryn! I adore that pretty pink frosting, and the flavor combination here – strawberry + rose must taste heavenly .xx

  34. Whoa girl, this cake is beautiful! I’m always worried about rose being too soap-y too, but by the sounds of it this cake has just the right balance. I really want to try working with flowers more in the kitchen and this potluck is just a perfect way to get me started!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Genevieve! I admit I’ve had some bad experiences before but a little touch of floral flavour here and there can work so well + I’m a total convert now!

  35. Joanne says:

    Three day weekends are perfect for baking experiments…and this is quite a beauty. I’ve never baked with edible flowers before, but I find them so elegant. Gorgeous cake.

  36. Kasey says:

    Absolutely stunning! I, too, am charmed by the delicate scent of rose in baked goods and I totally hear you on long weekends — I’m about to enjoy one and cannot WAIT. xo

  37. I love the corn flour and overall aesthetic of this cake! Lovely :)

  38. I’ve never baked with flowers before…to be totally honest, edible flowers kind of frighten me. But I will take a cue from your book and give it a go! Looks truly beautiful Kathryn!

  39. Edlyn says:

    Yes! I think you did it Kathryn. You made a GF cake that I absolutely want to try. I’m bookmarking this for when the time comes. I have a feeling it’s very soon.
    I’ve also never made Swiss meringue before but I do want to try it now. I mean the cake is simple enough for me to want to spend time fussing over a thermometer. It’s worth it. I can tell. Can’t wait for strawberry season! Roasting strawberries was a first for me last year and I never knew anything better, especially on top of ice cream. Love this recipe.

  40. Not only is this a beautiful cake, but I have a bottle of rosewater that needs to be used. You cook with flowers like a pro!

  41. Renee Kemps says:

    This is such a beautiful cake! Love the whole collaboration with all those amazing spring, flower-y recipes! This strawberry + rose flavour.. YUM!

  42. This cake is just stunning! I’ve never baked with rose water, but you’ve convinced me that I need to change that immediately. I’d also like to each that roasted strawberry swiss meringue straight out of the bowl!

  43. Sim says:

    This cake looks amazing….. Can’t wait to try this…. Love the aromatic flavours….. Just one question…. Can I omit butter and use oil instead…. And if yes pls suggest quantity. Regards

    • Sim says:

      The question was for the cake…. But now wondering if it will work for the icing too…. Just an option for gfcf.

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