Rose Geranium Leaf Pound Cake

This is an old-fashioned cake that is given a wonderful twist with the addition of heavily-scented rose geranium leaves. Pressing the leaves to the sides of the Bundt tin gives a fantastic visual effect.

Serves 10-12

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz/2 cups) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 515 g (1 lb 2 oz/2. cups) caster ( sugar
  • 4 large organic, free-range eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • zest of ó a lemon
  • 18–22 rose geranium leaves (10–12 torn and bruised, the rest left whole for lining the tin)
  • 450 g (1 lb/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) _our, plus extra for dusting
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 250 ml (8ó _ oz/1 cup) buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting
  • Rose geranium flowers and small leaves, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 165°C (325°F) degrees. Grease a large ring (Bundt) tin and dust with flour.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest and torn rose geranium leaves, and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the _our, a pinch of salt and the bicarbonate of soda. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter and sugar mixture, being sure to start and garnish with the dry ingredients.

Put the vegetable oil in a small bowl and briefly dip the remaining rose geranium leaves into the oil to coat. (This will make them adhere to the tin.)

Stick the oiled leaves in a pattern on the inside of the tin, pressing firmly to keep them in place.

Carefully pour in the mixture (try to prevent any mixture running between the leaves and the tin) and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the pan before turning out and dusting with icing sugar. Decorate with rose geranium flowers and small leaves.