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bergamot rose rhubarb cakeI’m feeling inordinately chuffed with myself. I, who am normally fairly immune to the charms of cakes – hormonal fluctuations notwithstanding – not only broke out of my comfort zone and yesterday made a cake, it was only ruddy World Baking Day. How zeitgeist of me.

Or at least it said so on Twitter. Where it was, of course, #WorldBakingDay.

I never know whether food days on social media are in fact real days, or a marketing wheeze dreamed up by some pr whippersnapper out to get noticed. I guess all food days are marketing wheezes. In fact I’m fairly sure that most days, such as Asparagus Day (yes, celebrated here in the UK), World Bacon Day and Raw Cookie Dough Appreciation Day (I may have made that up), can be traced back to a hazily-remembered pub evening involving a sticky envelope and an Ikea pencil.

But it doesn’t matter, really. It is kind of cool to think that on a certain Sunday in May, a few thousand extra people are in their kitchen making a cake from scratch. Even if – like with me – it was completely unintentional, and they were just being gripped by hormones and a sudden urge of domestic goddessness that didn’t involve ironing or cleaning the lint filter. And they had rhubarb.bergamot rose rhubarb cake

Of all the cakes one could have – Victoria sponge, chocolate, fairy, polenta, etc – I do think ones involving yogurt are up there with the best. Not only is a yogurt cake always going to be moist, but – hooray! – you bung it all together, shove it in the oven and 50 minutes or so later you have a nice cake. It also keeps very well, so perfect for lunch boxes and unexpected guests.

We love the lactic tang from the yogurt and the usual tempered sweetness of a yogurt cake. So unlike a blowsy chiffon cake, or towering ganache-spackled chocolate cake. As nice as they are. I think of yogurt cakes as the demure but self-assured cousin to their in-yer-face worldliness. Jennifer Lawrence to the Kardashian.

Maybe it is just me who prefers the simple to the involved. Certainly my baking skills are aligned with my tastes. But there is something ever so comforting and universal about a slice of yogurt cake. As lovely unadorned – save for a pretty plate – as it is studded with fruit (or in this case, vegetable) and glazed with a water icing.

This cake is made for sharing. Twelve slices is recommended. Or even 16, cutting it thinly and catching it on a fork so it doesn’t topple and break. Make it and take some round to neighbours, or to the office.

To accompany your slice, the hint of bergamot in the cake lends itself most naturally to a bone china cup of Earl Grey tea, but even a mug of green tea goes very nicely.

So today, after yesterday’s rampant cake testing, it is back to greens and beans and all those nice things. But it was certainly a pleasure to bake this cake and feel part of a global event. Even it was just made up.

Did you celebrate World Baking Day? If so, what did you make? Do you think ‘food days’ are fun, or you a bit cynical about them? What’s the weirdest food day you have heard of?

bergamot rose rhubarb cake

Bergamot and Rose Rhubarb Cake

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
  • Print

The floral-citrus note of bergamot oil – the main flavour in Earl Grey tea – is not essential here but, if you can get some, you may find many more uses than just for this cake. I found mine on the website.  Otherwise, a teaspoon each of orange zest and lemon zest will provide some of the taste, if not the scent. If you have orange blossom water, a dod of that will add to the aroma – but just a few drops as it is usually strong stuff.

As for the rose water, well it is essential. Most large supermarkets and all Middle Eastern markets will have at least one or two brands from which to choose. Twist open the top of the bottle (if you dare) and have a sniff. You want a pure and light rose scent rather than anything sickly or alcoholic. Think Turkish Delight.

And, as with most of my recipes, adjust to your own particular diet – unless it is sugar-free. Because this ain’t, I’m afraid.

150ml Greek yogurt or thickened plain yogurt (vegan is fine)

150ml light olive oil or rapeseed/canola oil

150g coconut sugar, sucanat or unrefined caster/superfine sugar

3 medium eggs (I haven’t tried this with vegan eggs or chia eggs but don’t know why it wouldn’t work)

240g spelt flour or unrefined plain flour (or gluten free flour mix for cakes)

2 tsp baking powder (or you could use 250g of self-raising flour)

½ tsp oil of bergamot OR 5 drops orange blossom water

1 tsp finely zested orange peel (add lemon too if you aren’t using bergamot)

100g rhubarb, diced not bigger than 1 cm

rhubarb and rose icing mixIcing

50ml rhubarb juice – made from juicing about ½ a stalk of rhubarb OR 50ml lemon juice

4-5 drops rose water (or more, depends on the strength – start with the least amount and add more if required after icing is made up)

200g unrefined icing sugar OR coconut sugar finely milled in a spice grinder

1 drop of natural food colour OR a little beetroot juice – just if you wish a colour boost (I used the latter)

Dried culinary rose petals, to decorate


1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/340F.

2. Use oil spray or paint oil in a bundt or savarin tin. You may also use a loaf tin.

3. Sift together the flour and baking powder; set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl whisk the yogurt, oil, sugar, eggs and bergamot/orange blossom water. Add the flour and zest and mix until no flour is visible.

5. Pour half of the mixture into the tin, top with the rhubarb, pushing some into the batter. Pour over the rest of the batter, smooth it a little then pop the tin into the preheated oven. Bake the bundt or savarin tin/cake for 35-40 minutes, or the loaf tin for about 50-60 minutes. Cover with foil if necessary towards the end to prevent over-browning. Test for doneness with a skewer – it should come out clean. If not, pop it back in to the oven for a further five minutes.

6. Carefully upend the cake onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool.

7. While the cake is cooling, make the icing/glaze. Add the icing sugar to a bowl, followed by the rose essence and drop of red colour. Gradually add the rhubarb juice until you have a thickish glaze (you may not use it all). Pour it liberally over the top, letting it spill voluptuously down the sides – a sexy, pink volcano.

Note: My icing was thick enough but I was in a hurry to glaze the cake and much of it initially absorbed. Take the time to let the cake cool. Also, I should have trimmed the cake’s top to flatten it before leaving it to cool upside down. Not a very good icing job but please believe me when I say that this is one delicious cake!

This cake – like most yogurt-based cakes – keeps well for a few days at a cool kitchen temperature in a cake tin.

bergamot and rose rhubarb cake

bergamot and rose rhubarb cake


Miss R’s track of the week is Single Girl by The Haden Triplets, a fine close harmony song that is a perfect cake baking and cake eating song.

48 thoughts on “Bergamot and Rose Rhubarb Cake

  1. Such a pretty cake!

  2. sophiebowns says:

    It looks like a volcano!

    1. Yes! I made a wee reference to it in the post – ‘sexy, pink volcano’ 😉

  3. richa0112 says:

    Rose, rhubarb, and such a beautiful icing 🙂

  4. This looks incredible. And simply inspired! I have been thinking lately of tea flavored desserts. Wouldn’tcha know it, I’ve also been thinking of trying my hand at rhubarb! What a perfect combination this is!

    1. Thanks so much. I’ve got a quick matcha yogurt bowl thingy – April posting, I think. For breakfast or dessert 🙂

  5. This cake looks delish. I recently bought a bergamot – for some reason had always thought it was spice rather than citrus fruit. Whenever I’ve tried baking cakes with rhubarb it’s ended up mega soggy so maybe i didn’t cut the pieces small enough. I quite like cheese day!

    1. Bergamots have such a short season and truthfully I have never bought them! But the oil is really nice. The zest would be so wonderful in this cake. As for the rhubarb, I didn’t put in a lot, and it is small dice, so the cake isn’t soggy. Just enough to give it a nice tang! And yes, cheese day. Make mine truffled brie from France!

  6. This is so so pretty, beautiful in fact! I LOVE the sound of it and will look forward to making it so much! I’m afraid I didn’t bake at the weekend but I do love the notion of Asparagus Day partly because it’s such a short season and I seriously look forward to it every year! I think it’s funny thinking of the asparagus farmers cutting their first spears and driving them down to Parliament in their Morgans on asparagus day which I think is St.Georges Day?
    I love the French Food Festival Days too. We were in St.Jean de Luz on Shrimp Day one summer and the entire town came out to eat together on huge long tables that the Mayor erected for the day 🙂

    1. Yes, Niki. You are right. I did a post last year about Asparagus Day, so I noodled around for info. And LOVe the sound of your French Shrimp Day! Small towns in France are so wonderful for these things. We have been there for Boudin Noir Day (not keen, but lovely idea), and even the World Cup semis a few years back had the town we were staying in pile into the square for a shared seafood meal, big tellys,and national anthem singing. It was one of those days you will always remember 🙂 I hope you make the cake – it is one the best ones I think I have made

  7. What a fabulous looking cake. It must be the day for cake posting. I too am way out of my comfort zone baking but dipped my toe at the weekend and dare I say enjoyed it!

  8. Ann says:

    Sorry that we are on holiday so can’t have a piece!

  9. Oh my gosh! Look at that gorgeous cake! I love yogurt cake, Didn’t even hear a thing about World Baking Day. Can you believe Wiki actually has a yearly calendar of “food days”? I just looked! I really want to make your cake. Everything about it is wonderful. Olive oil, yogurt, coconut sugar, spelt flour….the list goes on and on. Wonderful.

    1. That is so kind of you to be so enthusiastic about this cake. I am not a big baker (well I will be big if I keep baking!) but I am really happy with this. I hope you get a chance to make it while rhubarb is around

  10. This looks fabulous! Especially love your cutlery 🙂

  11. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    What a beautiful cake, Kellie! Love the sound of it.I’m not a huge fan of Earl Grey, so not sure about the bergamot, so thank you for suggesting alternatives. Pinned.

    1. The bergamot is so subtle – not like drinking Earl Grey tea – promise! Thanks for the pin 🙂

  12. Violet says:

    Your cake is too pretty to eat, Kellie! 🙂 I think food days are fun, but you know, every day should be food day since we all bake or cook or make our own food in our little world! 😉 Cheers!

    1. How right you are, Violet. Of course everyday should be a food day, but I guess it is fun to big up individual ingredients and recipes (e.g. Brownie Day) too! And thanks for the sweet compliment. It is a bit messy but it was made with love and passion. And a hungry family desperate to get their paws on it!

      1. Violet says:

        Hi Kellie, yes, it is fun indeed to have food days! 🙂 Making food with love and passion is the best especially when you have people who appreciate it! ^^ Happy cooking & baking!!! 🙂

  13. Chaya says:

    this is gorgeous! i love the creative flavor combinations and the pictures.

    1. Thank you !

  14. Looks fab!! And I am completely with you on the bung it all together and shove it in the oven style of baking!! And the addition of the yoghurt….yum!!!!

    1. You know me 😉 I have made a vegan version of this (minus the oils – just got the bergamot) and it worked just fine.

      1. Cool 🙂

  15. hoytapeo says:

    So nice 🙂

    Such a good appearance!

  16. Gorgeous cake, Kellie! I’m hankering for a slice right now! I am also with you on yoghurt cakes (I’ve got a couple on my site, in fact). Aren’t they lovely with the study moisture and tang from the yoghurt?! I have seen rose water at my local supermarket, but don’t have bergamot oil – something I’ll clearly have to remedy right away!

    1. I must have an amble around your Index and see your yogurt cakes – they are my favourite 🙂

      1. Index?! Ah, you have too much faith in me 😉

      2. I HATE updating mine. I am two month’s out of date!

      3. Um, nearly 4 years out of date… youch!

      4. I didn’t start mine until I had 125 posts. It’s never too late!!

  17. The cake looks amazing and the color of the glaze is just incredible!!! The ingredients sounds really good to me:)

    1. I’m glad you like it – beetroot is an amazing natural food dye. Cheap too!

  18. I love the tang of yogurt cake too, and the rhubarb elevates it I’m sure. This looks lovely!

  19. Now I have an excuse to use the bundt tin I have never got round to using yet. Also, I adore yoghurt in a sponge, it provides the right element of tang and it prolongs the life of a good sponge not that this would last long. Stunning!

  20. Deena Kakaya says:

    I mostly pick up delectable savoury dishes from you and don’t often see sweet stuff but when I do, look at what you spoil me with!

    Lemon cake is my fave bake because I like sweet and and zingy essences together and that’s why I reckon i would love your recipe; live yoghurt in cakes, I love this tart rhubarb and floral feeling. Gorgeous colour too x

  21. Christina says:

    Beautiful photos! So vibrant!


  22. This sounds so delicious! And the pictures are beautiful. Do you drink black tea? I drink earl grey, but I’m also partial to a cup of lady grey now and again – bet that would team really well with this cake, too…

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    1. And thank you for your great comment. Yes, I drink a little tea now and again but not much cos of caffeine. Any cuppa would be nice with this. Preferable to coffee. I hope you make it 🙂

      1. I think I will be making it! You may like this recipe of mine (but then again, you might not 🙂 )

  23. The colours are simply stunning! This is one pretty (and tasty) looking cake. I imagine a hint of rosewater would work here too?

    1. It’s in the icing but you could swap out the bergamot for the rosewater in the cake itself if you fancy. Thanks for your kind comment. Appreciated!

  24. Sabrina says:

    Such a beautiful cake! This blog is so inspiring for a beginner like me 🙂

    1. Aw, that’s very kind of you to say. I’ve been doing this over three years but I still feel like a newbie! Good luck with your blog and enjoy exploring the wordpress food community. It’s pretty darn awesome!

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