Sunday, 27 February 2011

Eastern Fig and Rose Dome Cake

Cardamom and rose scent the house as this week's cake takes form. Travelling east for inspiration using semolina instead of flour, I have added sweetness and texture with Turkey Figs and almonds. Baked into a dome, dusted with gold and topped with crystallised rose petals and gilded almonds, we move the cake again out of the ordinary further east to a Kubla Khan 'Pleasure Dome'.
Sparkling in artificial light
OK, maybe the last bit is OTT but that's my source of inspiration this week. Who doesn't love the look of dome cakes; steamed treacle puddings, jam sponges and chocolate castles with rivulets of sauce running down the side? To put this into an English afternoon or American coffee cake style that would keep, I used a subtle rose syrup poured over the cooling cake. However, lovely as it looked undecorated, I wanted to take it to the level of a special occasion cake ; two shades of gold powder are simply dusted over the edges and  sparkling roses and almonds crown the centre .

Further Inspiration - images courtesy of
Dr.Chris Mullen

Click to enlarge and see the texture in detail
East meets West:
Soft semolina and ground almond cake; holding figs and flaked almonds, gently scented with cardamom and encased in a sparkling rose glaze. It is possible to increase the amount of cardamom and rose to serve with coffee. The amounts here go pleasantly with Traditional English Afternoon Tea or Earl Grey.
One of the pleasures of this cake was the simplicity and effectiveness of the gold powder as a decoration. It made a refreshing change to have a light sweetness added with a  glaze, without dressing the cake in layers of marzipan and royal icing, yet still producing a 'centrepiece' cake.


Text Only Printable Recipe



5oz (140g) Butter
5oz (140g)  Caster sugar
3 Large eggs
6oz (170g) Semolina
1 tsp Baking powder
5 tbsp Warm milk
1 tbsp Cardamom Pods

3oz (90g) Ground almonds
2oz (60g) Flaked almonds
5oz (140g) Dried figs - preferred

Rose syrup:

5oz (140g) Caster sugar
5fl oz (150 ml) Water
2 tbsp Rose water or as much as 100ml, I use lesser amounts for UK palates


Golden almonds: made from 2 tbsp almonds toasted in a pan with 1 tsp butter and gold sugarcraft powder
Crystallised rose petals
Gold sugarcraft dusting powder


Preheat oven 120c/110c Fan/250F/Gas Mark 1 to 1/2

Grease 1L Pyrex bowl or similar

Grind the seeds of the cardamom pods and infuse in 5 tbsp of warm milk for 10 mins.

Partially rehydrated dried figs - superior dried figs - worth sourcing from Waitrose
Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add 90% of the semolina, all the baking powder and the ground almonds, mix well. Strain the milk and stir the milk into the mix. Chop up the figs into small pieces and coat in remaining semolina; fold into mixture with the flaked almonds. Spoon into prepared bowl and place in oven.

Make the syrup while the cake is cooking. Add the sugar, water and rose water together and warm until sugar is dissolved. Heat and boil for three minutes.

Check after 20 minutes adjust temperature as required. Check the oven is not too hot, the cake cooks for at least an hour until a skewer comes cleanly out. Allow to cool for at least 5 mins and ease from bowl.

Place on a wire rack over a shallow bowl. Prick cake over and pour warm syrup over. Brush over sides as necessary. This is more of a glaze than the traditional eastern syrup steeping method but the recipe could be adapted for that purpose on a thinner depth of cake.
Toast flaked almonds in butter and add gold powder. Dry on kitchen paper. Add central decoration of crystallised roses and the gold almonds in crown shape. Dust sides with golden sugarcraft powder. Enjoy being inspired!

Waiting on a Sunny Windowsill for Afternoon Tea


  1. The cake looks incredible! I love the texture as well. Simply yummy. Thanks again for sharing such wonderful recipe. Have a great weekend.
    Blessings, Kristy

  2. Wow, this has all my favourite flavours! Figs, cardamom, almonds... Can I come round for tea?

  3. pauline how sporty! you've put coleridge over there too!!! this cake looks mesmerising and that too a cake with semolina. i should flag this. thank you!!

  4. NOw that is a stunner! Love the dome shape - it makes it so appealing!

  5. Your cake is amazing, perfect for the afternoon tea. I love that you put gold powder on it, to add some glitz. Just beautiful.

  6. Figs and almonds in a cake...beautiful! The cake looks incredible - great job!!

  7. Pauline, another fabulous stunner! The shape, the scale and colors are so captivating and your words bring the aromatic scent of cardamom off the screen and straight to the nose... brava!

  8. Thanks for the lovely comments. Just to let you know it got finished today by my family. What we found interesting was that the flavours really blended so you were more aware of a sweet aramotic cake rather than 'a rose' flavour or a 'figgy' ;-) flavour. I will def. make this again as an alternative to Christmas Cake.

  9. What a beautiful cake, from the figs and almonds inside to the dusting of gold and rose petals outside. Love the dome shape, too.

  10. cake looks wonderful and delicious!

  11. You had me sold at "figs", such a gorgeous cake.

  12. This cakes looks wonderful. Can I have a piece please...???

  13. OMG. This is definitely not OTT. It's just incredible. I wish I could taste a slice right NOW! This looks so different and full of exotic flavours. Love the rose in there. You rock, as usual, Mrs Mulford :-)

  14. You definitely have the Midas touch. This is definitely a centerpiece cake.