No season in New York is complete without a trek to Joe’s house, and aroma-tidbit time.
“When do you want to come for geranium-jasmine cake?” he asked.
Well, of course I answered as any sane person would: “As soon as possible please!"
And so I went the other night, up to visit him at the north end of a bare and wintry Central Park.
Need I say anything about these flowers affinity for butter, for cream, for sugar? What better home for jasmine than buttercream frosting?
Since there is not a lot of description I can go into, let’s go with the gustatory version of a picture being worth a thousand words.
Just make it yourself.
I don’t have his exact recipe for the cake but any decent recipe for white cake will do, just as long as you make it with real ingredients, and don’t use an instant mix. Try Joy of Cooking, or Magnolia or any good cookbook if you don’t have your own recipe and add the essential oil (or absolute) as you’re creaming the butter and sugar. Joe used three (3) drops geranium absolute. It’s gonna bake in there. Needn’t be strong, just palpably there.
For the icing just make a simple rich heavy one. I agree with Joe in that a lighter icing, for example a whipped, egg whitey one, will not give the essential oils (or absolutes) their due respect. Just stick to traditional American (French) style and you’ll be fine. Remember, butter, cream and sugar are friends of aromatics. Don’t use a canned or instant or packaged frosting. If you are intimidated because you don’t cook, don’t worry, just look at a frosting recipe. It’s easy, really. It will be better if you make it yourself with your hands. It's basically butter and sugar and maybe milk or cream. Add the eo or absolutes when you're combining ingredients.
The combination of geranium cake with rose filling was sublime; they married exquisitely. Of course they did. Look at the love and commonality geranium and rose share, after all! And that Sambac, like a fairy queen, sprinkling her magic sparkle in blessing.
You could seriously seduce someone with this cake. Or just make a miracle.
This originally appeared in a blog entry for Absolutetrygve in 2012.
Copyright Trygve Sahar Harris 2012-2022