Rose Water Layer Cake

Happy Monday everyone! Better yet, happy last day of Mercury retrograde AND day before Saturn retrograde! Soon we’ll all be feeling energized and inspired to be our best selves. What better way to celebrate that great news than with a beautiful, unique cake? Am I right?


This rose water layer cake was inspired by Qatar, but specifically by this place called Souq Waqif. If you’ve never heard of Souq Waqif, it’s one of the last traditional Qatari attractions still standing. It’s a giant market full of restaurants, clothes, shoes, toys, exotic birds, dogs, kitchen supplies, spices and THE best bread on earth. They make and cook the dough right in front of you and it costs 1QR (27 cents) for 5 pieces. Amazing. They also hold a spring carnival, date market and tons of other seasonal attractions. Anything you want, you can find at the Souq .

My favorite part is the spice shops. They sell all kinds of spices by the kilo for about 24QR, or $6.50. The thing that sticks out most to me are these dried rosebuds I see everywhere. They’re so pretty gorgeous I couldn’t help picking some up. Traditionally they’re used for tea and coffee, but I decided to use them for this cake.

Rose is a very common flavor here in the Middle East, rose lattes, rose pastries, rose tea, etc. I was never a huge fan of rose flavored anything until I came here. It’s a very light flavor and it’s not overly sweet. Sugar loaded desserts and candies are not so popular here as they are in the United States. Most truffles are made with some sort of spice that compliments the chocolate. You’ll never see a 23 layer chocolate cake at a restaurant here. Milkshakes and ice cream are around but mostly for expat/tourist sake. You’ll never see a Qatari family indulging in an ice cream cone. But a cold glass of Karakde (hibiscus juice) or an iced rose latte? Of course! But they don’t add any sugar.

So this cake recipe was all based off of those things. It was actually made for a Qatari man, Jassim, who enjoyed it immensely. Here, I used only egg whites rather than whole eggs to keep the cake light and fluffy and it shows in the batter. I’m noting this step because it’s extremely important to beat the whites until they are completely fluffy. It’s the key step in getting the right texture.




  • 3/4 C Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 3/4 C Sour cream, room temp
  • 1 TBSP Vanilla extract
  • 6 Large Egg Whites, room temp
  • 2 1/2 C AP Flour
  • 4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 C Milk, room temp
  • 1/4 C Rose Water


  • 3 C Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 Stick Unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 TBSP Milk
  • 1 tsp Rose Water
  • Pinch of Salt


  1. Butter three 8 inch cake pans and preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and fully combined.
  3. Add sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  4. Add egg whites in batches, mix well between each batch making sure egg whites are fully combined and batter is light and fluffy.
  5. In a separate bowl , combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. In a small bowl, combine milk and rose water.
  7. In batches add dry ingredients then mix, then add rose water and milk, and mix. Repeat until everything is combined.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake 20-25 minutes.
  9. Cool completely before frosting.

For the butter cream

  1. In a medium sized bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Drizzle in milk and rose water until you get the desired flavor and consistency.
  4. Add food coloring if desired.



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