The Best Rose Water Cake


With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to make a cake with rose water! After some intensive research, I couldn’t find any cake recipes that put actual rose water or rose extract into the cake batter. That’s when I knew it was time to experiment. This recipe puts rose water in the cake batter and in the buttercream. Don’t worry, it’s a very small amount in each part of the cake!

Rose water is a very delicate flavor, and can easily be overwhelming if you aren’t careful!! The last thing you want to is an aggressively perfumed cake, so slowly add in the rose water to taste. The intensity of the flavor can vary depending on the brand of rose water you are using (or if you use rose extract). I used a brand I found at whole foods, which isn’t too aggressive. The recipe I used can be found below:

Rose Water Cake  Batter:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. rose water
  • pink gel food coloring (optional)

Rose Water Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp rose water


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 8” round pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, rose water, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated. If desired, add in a couple drops of pink gel food coloring, to color the batter a light shade of pink.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the cake layers cool, prepare the rose water buttercream. Beat the butter on high using a paddle attachment for 30 seconds, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla, rose water, and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

NOTE: If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Frost cake layers once they are fully cooled. I decided to decorate my cake with some buttercream flowers as well, but this is an optional step 🙂


I made this cake for a live stream with the Food Network! You can see the full decoration here. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to live stream while decorating, but I had a blast making this cake!!


14 thoughts on “The Best Rose Water Cake

  1. Sorry but in Europe I can not work with a cup or 350 F or 4 sticks of butter. Could you pls. give me: Gr. °C or tell me how much is a cup?

    1. You can rework the amounts on any computer.. I had to learn to adjust amounts for the Brit recipes I use.. It’s worth the effort.. and not hard to do..

  2. I love the rose water in both the cake and the frosting. I made the cake today, and there are a couple of omissions in the recipe that would be helpful to include. First, when combining the wet ingredients prior to adding to the dry ingredients (“combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine….”) you’ve left out the rose water. It’s on the ingredients list, and fortunately I put it out on the counter with everything else, but honestly I may have forgotten it. And you may wish to add to the ingredients list for the cake portion “optional-pink food coloring”. I honestly wasn’t thinking about that and, of course, the rose water is clear, so my cake isn’t pink. That’s fine, but had I been thinking about it, I would have chosen to make it pink, since it’s so pretty in your cake. I haven’t eaten it yet (daughter’s 18th birthday is tomorrow) but the batter tasted delicious!

  3. First, thank you for posting a rose cake recipe, I have been looking for something like this. My result was just ok. I doubled the quantity of rose water but still didn’t really taste rose. I’m going to chalk that up to using old water. I felt like the cake was much too sweet, especially with the frosting. If I try this again, I might half the sugar but not sure what that would do to the recipe. I’m disappointed but everyone who ate the cake seemed to like it, so it’s not all bad!

    1. Yah I have no idea how long rose water lasts, but different brands can have much different strengths!

      I use American buttercream, which is the sweetest! you can always try a Swiss meringue buttercream if you want something less sweet. I wouldn’t recommend decreasing the amount of sugar in the cake layers, or it will change the texture and make the cake more dense!

Let me know what you think!

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