Family food · Stage 2

YNBO Rose and lemon first birthday cake


When your oven breaks the day before your daughters first birthday you have to try really really hard not to go into meltdown. As you can imagine I use the oven a lot and this week I needed to make apple tarts, twenty breakfast muffins for nursery, the plant based YNBO version of the Great British Bake Off and most importantly a first birthday cake. Thankfully my lovely friend and neighbour gave me a key and free use of her oven and so I spent a lot of Monday running between our flats with batters and bakes.

Win of the week however has to be that my daughters birthday cake fits the brief for the Great British Bake Off show stopper. They were tasked with making a cake that used botanical influences and floral flavours. Whenever I make kids cake I use reduced or no sugar recipes and to give sweetness and added taste I often add in citrus or floral flavours. This weeks cake was no different. I had already decided that I wanted to make a lemon cake as that is a firm favourite for the little one. I also knew that I wanted to decorate it only with cream as it allows you to ‘ice’ the cake but shun any sugar. For decorating I had bought edible rose petals and so I decided to add a splash of rose water to the cream too. For me, lemon and rose pair perfectly and if I had been making an adult cake then I would have added a pistachio cream to the centre. As the baby hasn’t tried nuts yet I went with stewed apples stirred into mascapone. Apples, lemon and rose it turns out is a trio of goodness. You could easily adapt this cake to make it plant based as the sponge is already egg and butter free. All you need to do is make sure that the yoghurt you pick is plant based and I can recommend using coconut for its thicker consistency.


It is really easy to add too much rose water so go gently as you can always add more. There are loads of other flavours that work well too in a cake. Orange with rosemary is delicious, Strawberry cake with a lightly infused basil cream is amazingly good and of course there is the classic combination of chocolate and mint. Polenta cake is great with lemon or orange blossom and you often cant beat a sponge cake with raspberries and an elderflower icing.  You can also use edible flowers for both decoration and taste, I used edible roses in this cake but lavender works well too and you can often buy packs of edible wild flowers that look beautiful on a ‘naked’ cake. Have fun and try out a few things until you find the ones you love.

Lemon cake with rose

1 and ¾ cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 and ¼ cup greek/coconut yogurt
½ cup finely ground coconut sugar (or unrefined sugar)
Zest 1 lemon
3 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup rapeseed or coconut oil

Place the sugar, lemon juice and zest and yoghurt into a bowl and cream together
Add in the oil and whisk well
Sieve together the dry ingredients and then gently combine them with the wet ingredients
Place into a greased 20cm tin and bake for 30mins

For the icing simply whisk 200ml of a cream of your choice with 1/2 tsp of rose water

For the filling I combine 3 tbsp of stewed apple with 2 tbsp mascapone (coconut yogurt would work too)





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