The soft light of dawn peaked through the frost-laced window, bestowing a rosy pink glow across the room. Before I could make my way to put the kettle on, the smell of sweetly aromatic rose and cardamom greeted me like an unraveling bloom, radiating into the world just as the morning sun rises and warms. The air already tasted sweet, spicy and slightly floral.
Cozy in the oven, this rose cardamom and blood orange loaf cake was a welcome surprise. “Good Morning!” my husband exclaimed cheerily as he poured me a cup of tea. Well caffeinated, he thought he’d surprise me by baking up one of my favorite recipes for cold, wintry mornings leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Half cake, half quick bread, this rose cardamom and blood orange loaf cake makes for an excellent breakfast, brunch or dessert addition to any Valentine’s Day table. Its sweet, slightly floral notes originate from a hint of dried rose petals and nuanced, spicy cardamom. In season, blood oranges contribute to a berry-like finish as part of a lush, yet lightly iced topping.
Applesauce is the hidden MVI (most valuable ingredient) in this loaf cake. Especially important in gluten-free baking, applesauce acts as a binding agent, providing a light sweetness and preventing the bake from drying out. It also pairs wonderfully with cardamom and rose flavors.
Topped with a pink, sweet-tart blood orange icing, edible rose petals and blood orange slices, this rose cardamom and blood orange loaf cake is beautiful way to say “I love you,” to your beloved or to yourself. Serve this cake on a special occasion, with a warm cup of tea.
2 cups 1-to-1 gluten free flour (I used this brand.)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
2 1/2 tbsp blood orange juice
blood orange slices (optional for garnish)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a loaf pan with a little vegan butter. Set aside.
In a food processor, add the sugar and rose petals, and gently pulse until rose petals are well incorporated.
In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the flax eggs, vanilla and applesauce. Fold ingredients to mix.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom. Then add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir to combine. Loaf batter will be thick.
Transfer the mixed batter to the loaf pan and spread evenly.
Bake cardamom rose loaf cake for 50-55 minutes. (Oven temperatures may vary.) Remove from the oven and let the cake cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. After which, use a butter knife along the edges of the loaf pan and remove the cake. Continuing to cool on the loaf cake on the cooling rack until it reaches room temperature.
While the loaf cake is cooling, make the blood orange frosting. In a high-speed food processor, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and blood orange juice. Whirl away until smooth and creamy.
Use an icing spatula to gently spread a thin layer of the blood orange icing on top of the cooled rose cardamom loaf cake. Top the loaf cake with dried rose petals and blood orange slices for garnish.
Slice and enjoy the cake with a cup of your favorite tea.
This recipe makes more icing than you’ll likely need. I prefer a thin layer of icing on my loaf cake, but if you like it thick, feel free to spread more on top!
Curious about vegan sugar options? Check out the notes section of this recipe.