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English Garden Olive Oil Rosebud Cakes

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

While I am not generally big on sweets, I do enjoy baking, especially when I can find ways to put my own twist on a recipe. This one is a perfect example. Olive oil cake traditionally comes from Mediterranean countries like Italy and Spain where - shock, surprise - olives grow. Olive oil cake is often flavored using citrus zest and juice (especially lemon) because - wait for it - citrus grows well in the same climate as olives.

Now, as much as I LOVE a good citrus olive oil cake, I wanted to see what would happen if I introduced some herbal notes, such as those in my English Garden Blend, which is a combination of rose petals, fennel, rosemary, thyme and marjoram. Well let me just tell you.... it's delightful. People simply do not bake with herbs enough. If you're not a fan of the flavor of rose, you could easily leave out the rosewater and substitute Herbes de Provence for the English Garden Blend or even use a single herb (I'd recommend rosemary or thyme).

I've written this recipe for use with an adorable rosebud cakelette pan from Nordicware because, well, I love tiny desserts. They're adorable and WAY easier to gift than large cakes, which helps me avoid always having dessert sitting around the house. While I haven't tested this recipe in cake pans of other shapes/sizes, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn't be able to bake it in any shape cake/bread/cupcake pan you prefer. You'll just need to adjust your bake time (a single larger cake will take longer to bake than little cakelettes).

rosebud cakes

English Garden Olive Oil Rosebud Cakes

Makes 18 cakelettes


  • 375 grams (~3 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 6 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder

  • 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) baking soda

  • 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt

  • 3 grams (1 tablespoon) English Garden Blend

  • 395 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar

  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) plus 30 grams (2 tablespoons) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

  • 14 grams (1 3/4 teaspoons) rose water, divided

  • 220 grams (1 cup) quality extra virgin olive oil

  • 240 grams (1 cup) buttermilk

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 125 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar

  • Dried rose petals for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 F (325 F if you are using a convection oven). Generously grease your cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, English Garden Blend, and sugar. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 120 grams (1/2 cup) of grapefruit juice, 12 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) rose water, the olive oil, the buttermilk, and the eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and, using a spatula or spoon, mix just until combined. Don't over mix.

Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan, filling it about 3/4 full. (Note: If you're using a single cakelette pan you'll have to bake three batches, re-greasing the pan between each batch.) Bake about 25 minutes if using a cakelette pan, 50 minutes to an hour if using a large bundt pan. The edges of the cakes should be golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes should come out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for AT LEAST 10 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing. (Make ahead: You can bake your cakes anywhere from a day ahead to a week ahead. If you bake them more than a day ahead, I suggest freezing them to maintain freshness. Freeze completely in a single layer before transferring to an airtight container.)

When you're ready to glaze, whisk together in a medium mixing bowl the remaining 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice, the remaining 2 grams (1/4 teaspoon) rose water, and the powdered sugar. You want the glaze to be pourable but still rather thick so that it sticks to the cakes. Thicken with extra powdered sugar or thin with additional grapefruit juice as needed. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cakes as desired.

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