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


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


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!*


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

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