Rhubarb and Rose Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze

Roses again! A lady never tires of roses, shoes or chocolate. Or sparkly things or $40 blow dries for that matter. I certainly never tire of pretty cakes. And that's a good thing, as I'm smack in the middle of cake month. Hold that thought - I have an epic chocolate cake recipe to share with you soon.

But for the moment, given Winter is giving it one last crack, let's talk rhubarb and edible flowers.

It's very hip at the moment to scatter edible flowers over everything and I'm so on board. I don't bother with extra long tweezers and fussy placement like a TV chef but I do love the way a liberal scattering of petals can transform a plainish cake into something beautiful, while giving a pop of colour and flavour. 

The combination of almond, vanilla and rhubarb with a hint of orange and rose in this cake is lovely, and it's an easy hand-mix.

It's inspired by this recipe from a favourite blog, Cannelle et Vanille, and it's a kind of variation on the friands I bake for my cafes, like a winter version in a cake. It can be also be made gluten-free by swapping in rice flour for the plain flour.

Tempting though it may be to cut into it fresh from the oven, because it smells all gorgeous and looks all golden and inviting, I urge you to stop and wait until it is cool so you can drizzle over the thick vanilla bean glaze and then attend to the all-important petal bling.

I have used dried edible rose petals by Pariya but you could use any edible flowers to decorate the top of the cake. Buy them from your nearest farmers markets or specialty food store.

Rhubarb and Rose Bundt with Vanilla Glaze
(Serves 12-16)

350g rhubarb, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon caster sugar
285g butter, melted
2 cups almond meal
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of 1/2 an orange
8 egg whites (store the yolks in the fridge and use them within a few days to make custard/ice cream/pasta/lemon curd etc)
1 tablespoon edible dried rose petals plus extra for the top
Extra butter for greasing tin

Vanilla Bean Glaze
1 cup icing sugar
Seeds from one vanilla bean or one teaspoon of vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 160C. Brush the inside of a 1.5L (22cm) Bundt or kugelhopf tin with melted butter and then dust with flour to ensure the cake doesn't stick.
Place rhubarb slices in a microwave safe steamer with the caster sugar and a dash of water and cook on high for two minutes or until just cooked and maintaining shape. Set aside.
Whisk the egg whites, icing sugar and orange zest together in a large bowl.
Add the almond meal, flour and baking powder and stir until just combined. 
Add the melted butter and stir carefully until all mixed in.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and scatter with rhubarb and rose petals.
Using a skewer, gently marble the rhubarb and rose petals through the cake mix.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cake is cool, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds with one tablespoon of boiling water until you have a thick, glossy icing. Add a dash more water if needed but be careful not to make the glaze too thin.
Drizzle spoonfuls of the glaze over the cake and let it drip down the sides in pretty rivulets. Scatter with rose petals and serve. 
* For an extra beautiful touch, add some flecks of gold leaf on top of the roses. You may need those long tweezer thingys for this though, and try not to love yourself too sick when you look at the result. Others will do this for you.


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