Chocolate, rose and poppy marble cake with rose petals

Everyone loves a marble cake – and this chocolate and rose version comes with two different topping options so you can dress it up for any occasion.

chocolate rose and poppy marble cake with rose petals
Chris Alack


110g unsalted butter, softened and diced, plus extra for the tin
150g golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp orange blossom water or rose water (for example Nielsen-Massey)
2 medium eggs
70g plain flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
25g cornflour
70g ground almonds
100ml milk
15g poppyseeds
10g cocoa, sifted

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170Cfan/gas 5, butter a 22cm/1.3 litre nonstick loaf tin and line the base with baking paper. In a food processor, cream the butter, sugar and flower water for 2-3 minutes until pale, scraping down the bowl twice. Whiz in the eggs one at a time then sift and whiz in the flour, baking powder and cornflour, followed by the almonds then the milk. Add the poppyseeds and briefly pulse to combine. Transfer half the mixture to a bowl then add the cocoa to the remainder and briefly whiz.

2. Drop alternate heaped tablespoons of each mixture into the tin. Marble the mixture with a few strokes of a knife and smooth the top. Bake for 50-55 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer inserted at the centre comes out clean. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the loaf and turn it out on to a wire rack. Remove the paper and cool the right way up. 

TOPPING TWO WAYS Break up 200g white chocolate and place it in a pan with 50g unsalted butter, 4 tbsp water and 2 tsp icing sugar. Gently heat until melted and stir to a smooth glaze. Transfer the topping to a bowl and chill to a thick, spoonable icing. Spread it over the cake and decorate with chopped nuts and edible flowers. Alternatively, simply melt 50g dark chocolate and squiggle it over the top. 

Recipe by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.