Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

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Za’atar Roasted Potatoes

Za’atar Roasted Potatoes

These Za’atar Roasted Potatoes are the perfect side dish to any summer gathering. They have a delicious, crisp exterior with a luscious, smooth interior. And, may I add, it’s impossible to stop eating them. What takes these potatoes really over the top is, you guessed […]

Vegan Pistachio Orange Tahini Cookies

Vegan Pistachio Orange Tahini Cookies

Pistachio, orange, tahini: that’s a nice amount of flavor in one cookie! On top of that, it’s vegan! But there’s a secret ingredient that makes this cookie extra creamy and flavored: halva, a flaky tahini dessert. I’m a sucker for any sesame confection. I love […]

Lemon Rosewater Loaf Cake

Lemon Rosewater Loaf Cake

This lemon rosewater loaf cake is inspired by both my grandmas. It has a bright lemony flavor, and is laced with a hint of rosewater. The texture is delicate and velvety. And, per usual, it is perfect with a cup (or two, or three…YOLO, this is THREE TEAS Kitchen after-all) tea.

So let me explain why this cake is dedicated to some of the most lovely ladies in my life, my Nana and Tata. Besides being so sweet and loving (like cake!), they both had recipes that I drew inspiration from. My mom’s mom, Nana, would always have homemade lemon cake at her house. Anytime we were over, it was a given that if we had tea (which was every time), we would also be offered a piece of lemon cake. It is such a delicious cake, and I am happy to say the recipe will be coming to the blog soon.

Tata, my dad’s mom, always had the most refreshing homemade rosewater lemonade in her fridge. It is so good! So naturally, I knew lemon and rosewater were a match made in heaven.

How to Develop a Recipe

So with these flavors in mind, that is where the recipe testing began. Here is how I develop a pastry recipe. There is a slight science behind it!

  • This cake is considered a “quick bread/cake.” A quick bread has the ratio of 2 parts flour: 2 parts liquid: 1 part egg: 1 part butter. One of my favorite books I use to develop recipes is called Ratio by Michael Ruhlman, explains this beautifully.
    • In baking, most recipes are developed this way and are measured in weight. So for example, in the ratio mentioned above you may use 8 oz of flour, 8 oz of milk, 4 oz egg (2 large eggs), 4 oz butter (1 stick or 1/2 a cup of butter). Sugar is typically in the amount of butter used.
  • Quick breads need a leavening agent, such as baking powder. Generally, 1 tsp baking powder should be used for 4 ounces of flour.
  • I used these ratios as a general guide, but made modifications along the way.
    • Adjustment #1 – I used buttermilk instead of milk for its thicker and tangy quality.
    • Adjustment #2 – I reduced the amount of buttermilk to 6 oz, to accommodate for 2 oz of lemon juice.
    • Adjustment #3 – I increased the amount of sugar, as this should be a sweet cake, just like Tata’s Rosewater Lemonade.
    • Adjustment #4 – I added lemon juice, zest and rosewater to create this flavor profile to a neutral cake base
  • Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to fit the taste and texture profile you’d like. Have fun with it!

Other Helpful Baking Tips

  • If you are not weighing measurements, spoon flour into your measuring cup rather than scooping it up with your measuring cup. The scooping method can often pack too much flour in your measuring cup, which may lead to a tough and dry cake.
  • Sift your flour through a sieve before putting in your bowl. This will help aerate the flour, and will lead to a fluffier cake.
  • Creaming the butter and sugar together until “light and fluffy” helps to aerate the cake too.
  • Mix dry ingredients together to evenly disperse flour, raising agents, salt, and spices.
  • Mixing the dry ingredients into the wet (as opposed to the wet into the dry) helps to prevent over-mixing, which can lead to a dense cake.
  • Rosewater gives a natural sweetness and mellows out the tart flavor of lemon. A little goes a long way, so make sure to measure this ingredient, or else the cake will taste overly floral. Check out this rosewater pistachio ice cream recipe for another delicious summer treat!
  • Lemon/citrus zest is a great way to concentrate the lemon flavor without adding too much extra liquid to the cake.

This cake will just put a smile on your face. It’s the perfect summer loaf. I think my grandmothers would agree.

Let’s Engage!

If you make this lemon rosewater loaf cake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! And of course, tag us on Instagram at ThreeTeasKitchen! We love seeing what you’re cooking up!

Lemon Rosewater Loaf Cake

This cake has a bright lemony flavor, and is laced with a hint of rosewater. The texture is delicate and velvety. It's the perfect treat with tea!
Recipe adapted from the book Ratio by Micheal Ruhlman
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 8 slices

Ingredients
  

Lemon Rosewater Loaf Cake

  • 1⅔ cup flour (8 ounces), plus ~½tbsp for greasing pan
  • ¾ cup buttermilk at room temperature (6 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (4 ounces or 1 stick)at room temperature, plus ~½tbsp for greasing pan
  • 2 tbsp rosewater
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Rosewater Glaze

  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • 2 tbsp milk or milk alternative
  • 1.5 cup powder sugar

Instructions
 

Lemon Rosewater Loaf Cake

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  • Line baking loaf pan with about ½ tbsp butter, covering all edges. Evenly sprinkle in ½ tbsp flour. Shake flour around the pan to evenly coat butter lining. Shake out excess flour from pan and discard.
  • Into a medium sized bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
  • In a separate large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Add lemon zest and cream again.
  • Add eggs to butter mixture one at a time, mix until fully combined.
  • In a separate glass or bowl, add buttermilk, lemon juice and rosewater.
  • To the butter/egg mix, alternate mixing in flour mixture, then buttermilk mixture, repeating a few times until all are combined. To keep cake light in texture, avoid over-mixing .
  • Pour cake batter into butter lined loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes. The cake is done once middle is cooked through and edges have a slight golden brown color.
  • Allow cake to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Place on a cooling rack.

Rosewater Glaze

  • To make the glaze, mix powder sugar, milk and rosewater in a bowl.
  • Once cake is fully cooled, spoon rosewater glaze over cake, allow to drip down sides.
  • Enjoy!*

Notes

Three Teas Tips
*This cake can be stored at room temperature for a couple days, or in fridge for a week.
Freezing ahead: You can also make the cake ahead of time, cool and wrap in aluminum foil and store in freezer for up to 3 months. I would wait on making the glaze until just before serving. When your ready to eat, defrost overnight in the fridge. When ready to glaze, allow to come to room temperature and then spread glaze on top.
Keyword cake, lemon, rosewater
Beet and Orange Goat Cheese Tart with Tarragon Crust

Beet and Orange Goat Cheese Tart with Tarragon Crust

When I was a kid, goat cheese was my go-to ingredient for making new recipes… I mean I was 12, so the extend was goat cheese, walnut salsa or goat cheese grilled cheese with pear and balsamic. I was infatuated with it’s creaminess and tangy […]

Asparagus Fattoush

Asparagus Fattoush

This Asparagus Fattoush is proof that you can use whatever is in season or what you have on hand to make this beloved middle eastern salad. It is so fresh and the perfect addition to your Memorial Day Mediterranean Mezze Table. Along with some other […]

Tahini Ranch Romaine Salad

Tahini Ranch Romaine Salad

Say hello to this tahini ranch dressing slathered over romaine salad! Not sure about anyone else here, but more recently in quarantine, I have been leaning into some fresh greens. It could be because of all those borek, comforting rice dishes and middle eastern cookies….but let’s be real it was/continues to be totally worth it.

And another thing to be real about, sometimes your go-to salad can get boring. Just changing up the cut of lettuce or the toppings can really jazz up a salad. Keeping the romaine whole is a fun way to eat this salad. You can decide to cut it up on your plate or get messy and eat it as is in your hands.

But the real star of this salad is the tahini ranch dressing. It is dairy free and bright and light from all the fresh herbs and lemon. The tahini provides a rich creamy texture and taste, and not to mention, packs a nutritious punch. Have I sold you on it yet?

Feel free to top this salad with whatever you have in your pantry or fridge. You can also decide to use this dressing as a dip for veggies. With so many of us cooking at home these days, it’s time to get a little jazzed about the simple things, like a new go-to salad. Enjoy!

Tahini Ranch Romaine Salad

A fresh romaine salad topped with a bright and herby tahini ranch dressing!

Ingredients
  

Tahini Ranch Dressing

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ½ medium sized shallot, diced (~½ tbsp)
  • 2 medium sized lemons, juiced
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • ½ tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • ½ tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt, more to taste

Salad

  • 1 head of romaine, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • 1 persion cucumber, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ¼ cup pepitas, roasted and salted
  • dill and parsley leaves, as much as desired

Instructions
 

Tahini Ranch Dressing

  • In a bowl whisk tahini, cold water and lemon juice.
  • Next add grated garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, dry mustard and shallots to the bowl and whisk.*
  • Slowly add in olive oil to mixture while whisking to fully emulsify the dressing.
  • Set dressing aside allow to rest for at least 15 minuets before putting on salad.

Salad Assembly

  • Lay romaine on a large platter.
  • Next scatter cucumbers and avocado over the romaine.
  • Finally spoon dressing over salad.** Top with scattered pepitas and torn herbs.

Notes

*After step 1 (whisking the tahini, lemon and water in a bowl), I usually throw all the next ingredients in a mason jar and shake. This is a quick way to make make a dressing, and a great way to store it too.
**Depending on how much dressing you like on your salad, you may have extra dressing left over. You can use it for another salad or use it to dip vegetable crudités over the week.  
Hummus Bi Ajeen

Hummus Bi Ajeen

I know. When you read the title of this recipe “Hummus Bi Ajeen” it may leave some confusion. Let me explain. Hummus in Arabic means chickpea. So, when we refer to anything with chickpeas we call it hummus, even though it may not have tahini […]

Healthy and Quick Carrot Soup Recipe

Healthy and Quick Carrot Soup Recipe

Although the Midwest has been experiencing beautiful weather this past weekend, it’s nothing more Midwestern than to snatch away good weather and predict mid 40s and 50s for the coming week. Our carrot soup is a lovely recipe to help get you through this final […]

Manhattan Beach Cocktail

Manhattan Beach Cocktail

There is nothing better than sitting with a refreshing drink while the sun is shining and hearing ocean waves. For the past few years, I have had the luxury of living in the beautiful Manhattan Beach. When moving to LA, we chose this neighborhood to get away from the constant bustling LA scene. But, it still gives us access to the other great neighborhoods LA offers. Fortunately, we live right by the beach and have a lovely rooftop overlooking the water.

Easily transitioning to constant warm weather after moving from Chicago, we whipped up this this drink as a signature weekend favorite. We always make it for guests when they come to visit us. A play on Tata’s rose water lemonade, I like to think we brought something back from Chicago and made it our own in Manhattan Beach. So, pucker up and get sun-kissed while drinking this breezy Manhattan Beach Cocktail.

Manhattan Beach Cocktail

Prep Time 5 mins
Course Appetizer, Brunch, Cocktail, dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 1 Drink

Ingredients
  

  • 3 oz gin about 2 shots
  • 1/2 cup sparkling water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp rose water
  • 2 tsp simple syrup
  • 3 mint leaves

Instructions
 

  • Use a highball glass or another tall glass
  • Add ice, gin, sparkling water, lemon juice, rose water, simple syrup and stir
  • Add in mint leaves and enjoy!
Mulukhiyah

Mulukhiyah

The following guest blog post was written by no other than the hubs, Auddie, (or All Day, Auddie -if you recall). I think he did a pretty good job – maybe even good enough to quit his day job?? Just kidding! This recipe is delish […]