Desert rose. A luscious and moist clementine cake with a rose water and vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. This sponge is charming, enticing, and fragrant. A splendid way to brighten up a pale and gloomy day. Top with silvered pistachios and pomegranate seeds for a romantic finishing touch.
For the Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick (113 gr.) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup/ 200 gr. sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (117 ml.) plain yogurt
zest of 3 clementines or 2 oranges*
2 tablespoons fresh clementine juice or orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds of 1/2 a pod
For the Frosting
8 oz./226 gr./ 1 cup cream cheese, softened
1 stick (113 gr.) butter
1 1/3 cups (160 gr.) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon rose water
seeds of half a vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F and grease an 8 or 9 in. round cake pan with butter. Then, line the base with parchment paper.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix well to combine.
3. Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Pour in the yogurt and mix until smooth. Stir in the clementine zest, clementine juice, and vanilla.
4. Gently fold the flour mixture into the batter in 2 batches until the cake batter is creamy and free of lumps. This makes for a lighter cake. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 27-30 minutes or until the the edges are golden and toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave in the pan for about 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. For the frosting, mix the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the butter, rose water, and vanilla, and continue mixing until well combined. Slowly add the sugar in batches until the frosting is thick and creamy. Spread over the cooled cake and decorate with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. Keep any leftover cake chilled for best results.
*Take care not to grate the white rind of the clementine or orange as it can be very bitter in flavor.