Rose Water Vanilla Layer Cake

This Rose Water Vanilla Layer Cake is my new favorite! It’s a moist and fluffy vanilla cake with rose water buttercream frosting and it’s SO good! It’s such an unusual and unexpectedly wonderful flavor – I’m dying for you to try it!

Rose Water Vanilla Layer Cake

Rose Water Vanilla Layer Cake recipe

So Valentine’s Day is approaching. Are you ready? Have you even though about it yet? I totally get it if you haven’t. It is still January. However I’m planning ahead for you and sharing this cake, which is perfect for Valentine’s Day! Edible? ✔️ Pretty? ✔️ Pink? ✔️ Flowers? ✔️ ✔️

This cake has flowers in both the cake and on top of the cake! Two check marks! Yay! 😉

And since Valentine’s Day is all about the love, I have to tell you a love story. One of my favorite things about relationships (whether it be mine or someone else’s) is the cute little things that couples just do. You know, the things that are unspoken and people just do for each other because they’ve been together and know their routine. Everyone’s got them and some of them are super cute.

Well, I went for lunch with my parents over the weekend and my dad ordered a milkshake. When they brought the milkshake over, he was excited but then quickly looked disappointed with himself. He immediately passed it across the table over to my mom, who then asked for a spoon. Looking at me, she noticed my confused look. I mean, it’s his milkshake – why did he pass it to her?

“He doesn’t like the whipped cream and always forgets to ask for milkshakes without it, so I eat it off for him,” she said, very matter-of-fact.

Ha! I mean I guess you could say it’s a win-win since she gets the whipped cream, but I thought it was so darn cute that they didn’t even miss a beat. As soon as the milkshake hit the table, they both knew what to do. There’s whipped cream? Mom springs to action eating it. Adorbs! I mean if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is! 😉

Best Rose Water Vanilla CakeBest Rose Water Vanilla Layer Cake recipe

True love is also this cake. 🙂 At least it is for me. I have seen this rose water (which is meant for baking) many times in the store and have always been curious about what it tastes like. Does it actually taste like a rose? And if it doesn’t, what does it taste like? I couldn’t imagine it, so I had to try it.

I paired it with a lovely, light and fluffy vanilla cake. Not knowing exactly what to expect, that seemed the best course of action. The cake is relatively straight forward to make, beginning with using the creaming method. The method incorporates air into the batter that gives it lift so it’s light and fluffy. Be sure to fully cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes before moving onto the next step, or you might end up with a denser cake that you’re supposed to. That’d be sad.

Next is the really fun part! The frosting! With rose water! It’s my usual decorator-style buttercream. I like to use a combination of butter and shortening because I prefer the taste and texture and then it stays nicer (more firm and less oily) at room temperature. If you prefer all butter, be my guest. The only thing you can’t change is the rose water! It’s SO good! I used about a tablespoon and it’s just enough to give a lovely flavor, without being overpowering.

Ok, so what does it takes like?! Well first off, it smells very floral. When you smell it, you’ll be sure it’s going to taste like soap…or something florally…like perfume. But it doesn’t! My first reaction was that it tastes like sweethearts – the Valentine’s Day candy! YES!! I love those things! And I wasn’t the only one to get that taste from it. I took it to small group and a couple others thought the same thing. Not everyone though. Some thought it was more floral than that, but everyone liked it. Even for those that thought it was more floral-y, they loved the sweet, refreshing taste of it. It’s honestly hard to describe if you don’t think it tastes like sweethearts (which I do). But it’s just so good! Nobody disliked it! It’s so fun and so unique, you seriously have to try it! It’s for research – and for Valentine’s Day. 😉

Homemade Rose Water Vanilla Layer CakeRose Water Vanilla Layer Cake slice


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Recipe

Rose Water Vanilla Layer Cake

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Rose Water Vanilla Layer Cake is my new favorite! It’s a moist and fluffy vanilla cake with rose water buttercream frosting and it’s SO good!


Scale

Ingredients

VANILLA CAKE

  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (173g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water, room temperature

ROSE WATER BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 1/2 cups (336g) salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (237g) shortening
  • 10 1/2 cups (1208g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 56 tbsp water or milk
  • Ivory icing color
  • Pink icing color
  • White Sparkling Sugar

Instructions

TO MAKE THE CAKE LAYERS:

1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) .
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
3. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
4. Add egg whites in two batches, mixing until well combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
5. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine the milk and water in a small measuring cup.
6. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined. Add the milk mixture and mix until well combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for about 21-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
8. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM:

9. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth.
10. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
11. Add the rose water, vanilla extract and 4-5 tablespoons of water or milk and mix until smooth.
12. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional water or milk, as needed.
13. Color the frosting with the ivory icing color. You will add the pink color later.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

14. To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round.
15. Spread about 1 cup of rose water frosting evenly on top of the cake.
16. Add the second layer of cake and another cup of rose water frosting.
17. Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the outside of the cake. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed, or watch the video above.
18. Color the remaining frosting with a little bit of pink icing color.
19. To create the light watercolor effect, use an offset spatula to add a thin layer of pink frosting around the cake. I added a fairly full layer and then removed as much as I wanted. You could also just add the pink frosting in certain spots and smooth it from there. Again, watch the video above for an example.
20. Use the remaining pink frosting to pipe rosettes around the top edge of the cake. I used Ateco tip 844, but Wilton 1M or 2D would work as well.
21. Sprinkle the cake with some sparkling sugar sprinkles, if desired.


Keywords: rose water dessert, vanilla cake recipe, best vanilla cake recipe, birthday cake, anniversary cake, celebration cake

Enjoy!

Decorated Rose Water Vanilla Layer Cake

Rose Water Vanilla Layer Cake! Such a fun, unexpected flavor! Perfect for Valentine's Day!

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Recipe rating

73 Comments
  1. Joelma Ucuanumbi

    Hi Lindsay
    I just want to say thank you so much for giving us the measurements in grams its so much easier to fallow as I don’t have to guess if the measurements are right. I’m gonna try this recipe this weekend I’m sure it’ll tasty delicious as all of your recipes do. I love your website and videos. X

  2. Sarina

    Hi,

    Could you please tell me for the vanilla cake is the sugar that used is granulated sugar? And for the milk was it low fat or full milk??

    Thank You

  3. Nicole

    I want to make this as a wedding cake with 3 10″ layers and 3 8″ layers, how many times should i double the recipe?

    Thank you!

  4. Cza

    Hello. Was the cake cold when you damp the tissue to the cake for a smoother look? Or you just hit the tissue right after? 

  5. Marc Peterson

    So freeeeaaaaaking delicious! I have some questions though….

    I didn’t have shortening, so I used cream cheese instead. Thoughts? I’m having trouble getting the frosting to thicken… I also did less powdered sugar because I’m horribly sensitive to sweetness and wanted to tone it down a little. Could these reasons be why I’m not getting the frosting to thicken? Thanks!

    As an aside, I tweaked the recipe a bit and blended up some blueberries and strained the juices into the frosting to give it a super cute lavender color. I also added whole blackberries and raspberries to the batter after giving them a light coat of flour. This cake is delicious! Thanks so much. I’m going to make it again for sure.

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, cream cheese is considerably softer than shortening so it will give you a thinner frosting. And reducing the powdered sugar would make it even thinner, as would adding blueberry purée. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  6. Mariah Williams

    I want to use this recipe to make my wedding cake but I’m worried about it not being sturdy enough. I want to make two barrel cakes.
    I am also a bit confused about whether the egg whites need to be whipped before introducing it to the sour cream, butter and sugar mix. 

  7. Evelyn

    This cake is good, but I wish that the batter was rose flavored too. Do you think I could just add rose water to the batter to make it tast like rose?

    1. Sarina

      Hi,

      Can I ask for the cake sugar is it granulated sugar?? And for the milk is it full cream or low fat milk??

      Thank You

  8. Katie

    I made this and it’s so yummy and moist! The only problem is it seemed too moist and some of the layers fell apart when I took them out of the pan. They weren’t stuck to the pan or anything. What could I have done wrong? Thanks! 

    1. Lindsay

      Hmm, I don’t usually fine them to be that fragile. I turn them out onto parchment paper on a cooling rack and then I’m able to move them around on the parchment paper. Maybe that would help?

  9. Amina

    Also is there a way to shorten the amount of powdered sugar in the recipe because I’m not sure I have 10 1/2 cups.

  10. Amina

    Hi Lindsey! I was wondering if using salted butter in the frosting is better than unsalted. Does unsalted butter make it too sweet? I have both I’m just curious.

    1. Lindsay

      I personally do think that the salt helps cut down on the sweetness. And yes, you can reduce the amount of powdered sugar – the frosting just won’t be as thick or make as much.

  11. Lara

    Hi can this be made without shortening? as we don’t have that in the U.K. Or can it be substituted for something else? I saw above  u mentioned adding more butter how much more would that be? Thank you 

    1. Lindsay

      I have seen it at Home Goods, Williams Sonoma, and Sur La Table before. They may not always have it, but I’ve seen it there. 🙂

  12. Trish Widtfeldt

    I have a dinner party coming up and this cake is just what I want! How far ahead can I do it? Also can I make the cakes and freeze then then thaw and ice closer to the time? Love it thanks so much

    1. Lindsay

      I typically will make a cake a day before. If you’d like to freeze it, you can. I suggest wrapping it well and thawing in the fridge before unwrapping it. I hope you enjoy it!

      1. Gurjit

        Thank you so much Lindsay. Will use the normal full fat yogurt.. wish me all the best as am taking this recipe for a wedding cake. 

  13. Stephanie Travis

    I only have two 8 in pans. Can I bake the first 2 layers and then do the 3rd? Will the batter be ok if it sits for a bit?

    1. Lindsay

      They are just different cake recipes. They are a little different in texture and such. Personally, I’m a fan of this one – it’s a newer recipe.

  14. Nidhi

    Hey! the rose water cake sounds super refreshing.. especially here in India, where is so hot always

    What do you refer as shortening – is that butter , oil or margerine

    1. Lindsay

      It’s a butter replacement. If you aren’t familiar or don’t have access to it, you can just use additional butter in place of it.

    2. Jo

      @Nidhi.. I would substitute Amul or other ghee for shortening. The consistency would be the same but far more flavourful.

  15. Zora Walch

    This cake looks amazing! I would love to try it but I’m not sure if i can because It looks so difficult and I don’t have three 8 inch cake pans an all the other stuff to make it perfekt… Do you have any tricks for beginners? 😉

  16. Angelina Gonzalez

    Hi! I made this recipe for cupcakes the other day for a fundraiser themed “La Vie en Rose” and they were a hit! I measured everything out the night before, and I only had trouble with the icing. I looked EVERYWHERE for rose water, and I only found out my Persian friend had some after it was too late, but we substituted Numi Organic Tea in the flavor white rose. I accidentally put only part of the butter for the icing (I left a stick out), but it actually turned out really well, and the icing hardened up a bit, so they were easier to transport. Thank you so much for this recipe- I will definitely look for more on this blog!

    1. Lindsay

      I really don’t use fondant much at all, so I’m not sure. I think it’s pretty sturdy, but it’s also a lovely moist cake.

  17. Suzy-q

    This cake looks wonderfully moist and dreamy. I have used rose water in my middle eastern
    desserts

    such as cookies and cakes. It is also used in drinks. I can’t wait to try this cake.
    Thanks for sharing!

  18. olivia @ livforcake

    This cake is SO pretty! I’ve never tried rosewater before either, but have heard about it. Glad to know it worked well! That story about your parents was super cute. I’d be all over that whipped cream too! Haha

    1. Lindsay

      Thanks girl! You totally should try it – I know you’d make a beautiful dessert – and it’s really so good. Totally worth trying!

  19. Melissa Howell

    This cake is SO pretty! I love the sprinkles of sugar on top. I have never tried rose water before, but it sounds divine! What else is rose water used for?

    1. Lindsay

      Thanks Melissa! I don’t know that there’s anything specific that it’s used for. It’s a flavoring that can be used in whatever you’d like. 🙂

      1. Alexandra haghighat

        Rose water originates from Iran and is used in many desserts and even sometimes in savory food and also in our tea. It is quite delicious!

  20. Brittany

    This is such a pretty cake!!! I love the watercolor effect!! I have never heard of rose water, but I definitely have to go try it out now =)

  21. Lianne

    That is such a cute story about your parents! I’ve never tried rosewater in anything but I’ve always imagined that it would have a similar taste to Parma violets (they are a small purple violet flavoured sweet we have in the uk I’m not sure if you have them too) and I love those so I’m sure this buttercream is delicious!
    Lianne | Makes, Bakes and Decor

      1. Lindsay

        It settles a bit but shouldn’t necessarily deflate. It should still have a little dome on top after cooling.

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, it can. Just fill cupcake liners about half way and bake for 15-17 minutes. The full recipe should make about 24 cupcakes.

      1. Lindsay

        Well if you were making regular size cupcakes, I would say probably get about two dozen. So for mini cupcakes I might say about double that, maybe a little more.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12