Mom’s Amazing Rose Geranium Cake with Rose-Buttercream Frosting


When’s the last time you baked a cake with your Mom? Luckily for me, it was just a couple of weeks ago. And this wasn’t just any cake – it was a melt-in-your-mouth, delicious rose geranium cake, unlike anything I’ve ever had. Mom had seen a recipe for this years ago and then more recently on Food Network’s TV show, “The Best Thing I Ever Made” where Chef Anne Burrell shared her Mom’s recipe for this delightful cake, infused with rose geranium leaves.

Rose geranium plant

Don’t confuse a rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) with your everyday garden variety geranium — it is not the same. According to Kevin Lee Jacobs in Garden Design Magazine, “this plant is not technically a geranium at all, but rather, a member of the Pelargonium genus. This is a plant that really earns its keep—not only is it easy to grow, but the plant’s deeply cut, medium green, intensely fragrant leaves can be used in drinks, desserts and even in your bath as a beauty treatment.” Mom got her plant at the Wake Forest Herb Fest, but I imagine you could get them at a nursery/greenhouse.

Mom has tweaked Chef Burrell’s recipe some, using a box cake mix to save a little bit of time and a rose-flavored buttercream frosting to ice the cake. (Note – the butter needs to be refrigerated overnight, so make sure you plan for this.)

This would be a great cake to serve at a baby or bridal shower, or a little (or big) girl’s birthday party. And by the way, if you don’t have a rose geranium, that’s okay — go bake your favorite cake with your Mom today!

Mom making cake

Ingredients (For the Cake)

  • 8 to 10 rose geranium leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 box (16.5 oz.) classic white cake mix
  • 3 large eggs (or whatever cake mix calls for)
  • 1 cup water (or whatever cake mix calls for)
  • ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil (or whatever cake mix calls for)
  • 1 teaspoon Rosewater


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease each cake pan and line with parchment paper.

Rub rose geranium leaves together (face to face) to release oils. Trim stems and place face down on top of the parchment paper, trying not to leaves go up the side of the pan if possible.

Place geranium leaves on top of parchment paper

Using an electric mixer, blend together cake mix, eggs, water and oil for the time specified on the package.

Mix cake batter

Add in rosewater and beat until blended.

Rose water

Evenly split the batter between each pan.

Pour patter over geranium leaves

Bake as directed, remove from oven when the layers pass the clean toothpick test, and let cool. Remove the leaves from each cake.

Remove geranium leaves from cake

Ingredients (For the Frosting)

Rose Geranium buttercream frosting ingredients

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
  • 6 to 8 rose geranium leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3 to 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • 3 to 4 drops red food coloring
  • Salt (a couple of shakes)


Wrap the butter with the geranium leaves. Refrigerate overnight. Remove leaves from butter right before you make the frosting.

Remove rose geranium leaves from butter

In a large bowl, cream the butter, 1 cup of the sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and salt. Beat in the rose water. Continue to add sugar and milk, beating on high until the frosting reaches desired consistency.

Beat sugar and butter

Add a few drops of food coloring to make the frosting a pretty pink.

Mix in food cloring

You may have to cut off the top of one of the cakes to make it even.

Level off cake if needed

Frost the tops of the layers first.

Ice top layer

Then frost the sides.

Cake is almost ready

Here’s a peek inside!

A peek inside

Mom goes all out with her beautiful table – notice the dainty rose china and the pretty tablecloth, which makes it look all so inviting!

Pretty in pink!

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

Follow Kel’s Café of All Things Food on Twitter at: @kelscafe

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1 Response to Mom’s Amazing Rose Geranium Cake with Rose-Buttercream Frosting

  1. Jerry Jackson says:

    Sent from my iPad


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