Similar to the Rose and Vanilla Bean Ice Creams recipe I posted recently, this recipe is also inspired by a regular catch up spot frequented by my friends and I. Similar to The Tea Salon, the Ladurée cafe in the city was a great location to meet, and while more on the pricey side, offered great teas and cake. Also similar to The Tea Salon, Ladurée in Sydney closed earlier this year. It is such a shame that two of our favourite catch up spots are gone, it really feels like the good spots in the city are becoming fewer and fewer.
The idea for this cake came to me ages ago, but it is only now that the need to make it felt really necessary. I haven’t stuck really closely to the original Ladurée cake, as I wasn’t keen on using food colouring. But feel free to do so in the cake and icing if you feel like it. The original cake is a candy coloured pink as the pictures below show, so add more than you think you need in the batter of the cake mix to ensure the cooked cake has the right hue.
I have created something that replicates the original in taste and texture in a way I am happy with. The original is more of a syrup cake, however the use of yoghurt and oil in this recipe creates a moist cake that doesn’t need a syrup - which makes the cake simpler and easier to make. The icing, also not in the original, adds more rose flavour which I love as the cake on its own is very subtle.
If like my friends and I you are looking for good places to meet for afternoon (or morning) tea in Sydney City and close surrounds, here is a list of cafes and bakeries that I love:
Black Star Pastry - Level 2, The Galleries (at Kinokuniya Bookstore) 500 George St Sydney: This is the easiest of the Black Star Pastry locations to get to if you are already in the City. There isn’t a lot of seating, and now everyone knows about it be prepared for a little wait to order. If it’s really busy get what you want takeaway and head over to Hyde Park or the Domain to eat outside. Try: The Strawberry Watermelon Cake is what they are famous for, and for good reason!
The Tea Cosy - 33 George St The Rocks: Not far from Circular Quay and Wynyard, this is probably the cutest tea rooms you can go too. Situated in an old terrace house, freshly made scones can be enjoyed with a variety of jam flavours and knitting needles and wool at the table in case you fancy a bit of knitting while you catch up with friends. Try: The Devonshire Tea with Triple Berry Jam.
Flour & Stone - 53 Riley St Woolloomooloo: A short walk from Hyde Park and St Mary’s Cathedral, this tiny bakery is well worth a visit. Again few tables are available, but it is worth it if you can hang around and wait for one. Try: They are really famous for the Pannacotta Lamingtons, however you really can’t go wrong with anything here. My favourites are the hand iced gingerbread, Old Fashioned Vanilla Cake and the Lemon Drizzle Cake.
Petal Met Sugar - Shop 7 68 Sir John Young Cres Woolloomooloo: A two minute walk from Flour & Stone is patisserie come florist Petal Met Sugar. Great for a quiet catch up, served with delicate patisserie and fun florals. Try: For special occasions book their seasonal high tea to try a selection of their repertoire.
Bourke Street Bakery - Shop 4 23 Barangaroo Ave Barangaroo: A short walk from Wynyard Station, is another outpost of the popular Bourke Street Bakery institution. It stocks all the favourites and great for an indulgent work day lunch time catch up. Try: Eggplant, Chickpea, Feta & Mint Sausage Roll and the Ginger Brûlée Tart.
Rabbit Hole Tea Bar - Shop 1 23 Barangaroo Ave Barangaroo: Down the road from Bourke St Bakery is the second and smaller cafe from Rabbit Hole Tea. Great for a quiet catch up, but be prepared for a more limited menu than their larger Redfern cafe. Try: Iced Ginger Snap Latte and Salted Caramel Cookie.
KOI Dessert Bar - 46 Kensington St Chippendale: A short walk from Central Station is this gem of a patisserie/dessert bar. Everything here looks amazing and has the flavours to back it up. Great for cake filled catch ups or super fancy set dinner and dessert menus (reservations only) in the upper level of their store for special occasions. Try: Strawberry Pillow and keep and eye out for their seasonal high teas which are just about the best high tea you can have in Sydney.
Ladurée Inspired Rose Cake
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda (baking soda)
175g plain Greek style yoghurt
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp rosewater (or to taste)
125ml vegetable oil
For the icing:
125g icing sugar (confectioners)
1-2 tbsp rosewater
dried rose petals, for decoration
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (or 160 fan forced) and line a 20 x 10.5 cm (approx.) loaf tin with baking paper so some of the paper hangs over two of the sides.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and bicarb soda. Then in a small/medium bowl whisk together the yoghurt, sugar, eggs, rosewater and oil.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake is golden in colour and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If in doubt give the cake another 5 minutes and check again.
Place the cooked cake on a wire rack, and wait to remove it from the tin until it has cooled (using the overhanging baking paper to do so).
Once the cake has cooled make the icing, by combining the icing sugar and 1 tbsp of the rosewater in a medium bowl (I prefer to use a whisk for this). If more liquid is needed for the icing to make it smoother, gradually add a little more rosewater or hot water can be added instead if you want a more delicate rose flavour.
Spread the icing over the cake and top with dried rose petals to decorate.
Reference: ‘At My Table - A Celebration of Home Cooking’ by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus, 2017), p.254.