Never surrender to limiting beliefs!

The thing about baking Cakes….

Most my trainees come to me saying “I can’t bake!” “It never works!” “I don’t have it in me to bake cakes!”… Let me assure you, as I did them, you can bake perfect cakes every time! Why surrender to such limiting beliefs? We do manifest all that we believe ourselves to be. If you believe that you cannot bake, or you are some one who when bakes everything goes wrong, then guess what, you will do just that! Yes, because if we are ever to do anything, or accomplish anything we have to believe that we can first, the action follow, then the achievement. If we stop at the first though, with “I can’t” then the outcome is certainly “I won’t”. If we simply shift to “I can” then, I do…

Once the initial openness is there,

then you are on the right path. No wishful thinking/solely dreaming ever gets any job done. It is the first step, then we do the work. Learn, be curious, ask why! This really is how I learnt. Why did it not work? why did it work before and now not? why does it rise? why does it fall…. The more you know and understand the more likely you are not just to succeed (following a recipe most of the time leads to success), but to succeed everytime and then move ahead beyond that to actually being able to create that recipe instead of just following.

Now that you are here,

The thing to know about baking cakes is the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients. In order not to complicate things for you in a post, in short: The Secret To Baking Success is : Precise Measurements and following the recipe exactly. That is until you learn the basics of baking. For now (the first step), don’t improvise and change around thinking it will work. You can do that once you know and understand the ratios, but until then, you should simply follow the recipe to the dot! It will work.

About this cake

We all love a piece of cake. Some flavours are favourites, and we tend to somehow mostly go for our chosen  favourite flavour. I usually go for chocolate cakes. However, on occasion, I like to play around with flavours. Instead of serving the same old cakes, why not go for Ramadan Flavours this Ramadan?

In an earlier post, I spoke a bit about what resembles Ramadan Flavours to me. Maybe your Ramadan Flavours are different, so if you do want to change around in this cake to incorporate what tastes like Ramadan to you, you can. You can change the spices I have used, in this case cardamom, and you can change the rosewater into any other liquid flavouring. Just make sure that you substitute the flavours in the same amount. 1 tsp cardamom = 1 tsp cinnamon for instance, not 3! You can also substitute the same amount of ground almonds for the pistachios if you like and make it an almond and cinnamon cake for instance.

With that said, I do recommend you try this cake out as it is, because the flavours are a marriage in heaven! It is so delicious, you will struggle to hold back from seconds!! 🙂

I like to serve cakes in individual portions, I find that they look elegant and take away from the hassle of cutting the cake when entertaining. I have put here the steps to change a large cake into individual portions. You can still serve this cake as a whole large cake, and it looks just as good.

TIP: Cakes have to be completely cooled before they are iced or frosted. Take that into consideration when planning your time.


Happy Baking 🙂


Serves: 12

For the Cake

  • 200g Butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 175g shelled pistachios
  • 140g self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp rosewater
  • 1 cup sugar syrup, diluted in water for a slightly runny consistency

For Rosewater Cream

  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp rosewater

For Garnish

  • Edible Dried rose petals and rose leaves
  • Broken Caramelised sugar-pistachio Barks

Preheat oven to 350F-180C. Line a sheet cake tin, or 1 (8 inch) round cake pan with baking paper and set aside.

Place Pistachios in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground but not buttered. Add the flour, cardamom, and baking powder and pulse twice to mix. Remove from the food processor, stir to mix and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all the eggs have been added, add the rosewater and beat to incorporate. Add the flour and pistachio mixture, and fold using a metal spoon, until all ingredients are well mixed. Pour the batter onto the lined tin and spread evenly. Place in the centre of preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes for sheet cake and 30-45 minutes for round cake or until slightly golden and toothpick comes out clean.

Once done baking, cool completely in the tin over wire racks. Once Completely cooled, you can place in the fridge overnight. This helps the cake become firm and not crumble while you are cutting the portions.

To cut the sheet cake into individual portions, place it over a lined work surface. Using a ring or a large round cookie cutter, cut the portions out of the cake. Place the cut rounds on a lined sheet cake tin. Repeat until all cake is finished.

When ready to assemble, make the Rosewater Buttercream:

Place icing sugar, softened butter and rosewater in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until well incorporated. Turn the speed up and beat for 30 seconds more. Set aside.

Take 1 cake round, brush the top with thinned sugar syrup, top with a layer of buttercream, then place another cake round on top and brush with thinned sugar syrup. Repeat till all cakes have 2 cake layers and a buttercream filling in the centre.

Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top of each cake. Sprinkle edible dried rose petal leaves on top. Place a caramelised sugar-pistachio bark in the centre of the cake. Place ready cakes in serving platter or cake stand. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Bring to room temperature about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with Tea or coffee.

TIP 1 :  The Caramelised Sugar-pistachio barks, are basically caramelised sugar poured over roughly crushed pistachios and left to cool. when hard and dry, break into pieces. Use these pieces to garnish cakes, pies or tarts.

TIP 2: For Pistachio Cake Balls:

When cutting cakes into individual portions, you will have cake crumbs and extras from the parts too small to cut. Make these into cake balls (mix the crumbs with the remaining buttercream), shape into balls and roll in roughly crushed edible dried rose petals. Please note that although they look like truffles, they are in fact cake balls and not truffles!



This recipe is from the repertoire of over 280 recipes in my book Plated Heirlooms. The book contains recipes from all sections of the Palestinian cuisine, starting with Mooneh (pantry recipes) to dessert and everything in between. Plated Heirlooms is a documentation of recipes and cuisine rationale as well as the compiled story of the cuisine.

All Plated Heirlooms recipes come with background information and thorough descriptions that in the end tie up with the rest of the book’s narrative to explain to you the formation and makings of Palestinian cuisine.

You can order “Plated Heirlooms” here and we will ship it to you anywhere in the world.

Ramadan Kareem!

You may also like…