Pretty in White

18 January 2006

Having been asked to make cakes for a couple of friends’ birthdays, I’ve been looking for some suitable dessert recipes. Something delicious of course, but being a visual person, looking pretty (and befitting celebrations in this case) is also important to me. Most people may like vibrant coloured desserts, as do I – but I have a penchant for white… I’m pretty sure I’d choose white as my favourite colour if I had to. Therefore, this cake, found in Donna Hay magazine (issue 21), appealed to my, um, blancophiliac tendencies straightaway.


The cake has not only the white roses on top, but also white chocolate sheets on the side, and the cake itself has white chocolate in it too. The recipe was very simple, similar to making pound cake – melt butter, milk, sugar, vanilla and white chocolate together, then add eggs and flour (and bake). When cool, spread whipped double cream all over and ‘build’ the walls up with chocolate sheets (it’s good fun). I felt a little guilty cutting the rose stems that short, but the finished cake had lovely shades of white and I was happy with how it looked.

However, although the cake tasted fine, I found it a little too sweet and heavy (even though I added less butter and chocolate than suggested in the recipe). I still love the look of this cake but I think I’ll need a lighter, possibly more interesting flavour to match this pretty deco. So I’ll try to post a recipe when I find one I like, but meantime please let me know if you have any suggestions.


Food - Sweet        69 comments    Permalink

  • It looks like a beautiful cake.

    I always find white chocolate a little too rich and sweet. Have you tried cutting it with a bit of an astringent spice such as cardamom?

    I think what would be really interesting, given the roses, is something with rosewater...


    Posted by jasmine | 18 January 2006 #
  • Lavender is lovely with chocolate ... and I have a column (not online so I’ll e-mail it) for a cinnamon-chocolate cake that’s quite wonderful too. The white chocolate / white roses are simply exquisite so the cake needs to be just as amazing.

    Posted by Alanna | 18 January 2006 #
  • Not a fan of white chocolate, but the cake looks really beautiful!!

    I really love your food and regular photos!!

    Posted by Kat | 18 January 2006 #
  • Coincidence: I was just looking for inspiration for a friend’s birthday cake! This is such a beautiful confection that at first I thought it was a wedding cake - it’s just that pretty.

    By the way, I know exactly what you mean about the guilt of cutting the stems off roses! Lovely photos, too.

    Posted by Emily | 18 January 2006 #
  • Too sweet? Cake can never be too sweet...

    Seriously, what a gorgeous piece of edible art you’ve created. Now, all you have to do, to become an even more stunning food goddess than you already are, is make some edible white chocolate roses as well ;-)

    Posted by Chubby Hubby | 18 January 2006 #
  • Keiko,

    MMMMM That looks gorgeous. I know what you mean about the cake turned out to be sweeter than you like. White chocolate sometimes does this - that is why I usually balance it up with sour cream (or yoghurt/kwark).

    I made a gorgeous white cake for christmas - the cake itself had sour cream, coconut, nutmeg, almond, white chocolate and vanilla. The frosting had coconut, nutmeg, mascarpone cheese and white chocolate.

    Posted by Lisa | 18 January 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko- your cake looks so nice, it so pretty and I personally think it suites every occassion. It can be used in weddings, engagement, as well as debut or a simple birthday party. Sometimes I think the simplier the better coz its more elegant.How I wish I can make that cake too.

    Posted by Cathy | 18 January 2006 #
  • Oh my, so beautiful! I usually pair white choclate with something acidy, like lime, to get a nice tang to the sweet. Maybe a lemon yoghurt cake would be nice? I believe donna hay has one in some of her books.

    Posted by Carin | 18 January 2006 #
  • Hello, Keiko


    I also love white color and of course white chocolate!

    Posted by seiko | 18 January 2006 #
  • wow keiko this cake is absolutely gorgeous... It’s even more beautiful than Donna’s (sorry Donna).

    It’s true that sometimes white chocolate can make a cake a little too heavy. I’d try a mix with some buttermilk to counterbalance that sweetness.

    Anyway i wonder what were the little ’bubbles’ on the white chocolate sheets?

    I also spotted this cake on Donna Hay’s issue. If only i had an oven in my student apartment, urg!



    Posted by fanny from FOOD BEAM | 18 January 2006 #
  • keiko this is so chic

    I dont like just white choc cake

    If I have that then it would pair with something spicy


    Posted by sha | 18 January 2006 #
  • Wow Keiko, that is a real piece of art! Forget about the sweetness worry, it is just amazing! It feels like spring now here on this rainy Bostonian day! Merci!

    Posted by Bea at La Tartine Gourmande | 18 January 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko.

    This beautiful cake looks like a wedding cake. It might as well be, don’t you think? It is so pretty!

    Posted by Dreska | 18 January 2006 #
  • What a coincidence. I just got a Donna Hay book for my birthday. This recipe is so beautiful I’m inspired to go make something right now. What a great looking dessert (and beautiful photo, of course!)

    Posted by Kelli | 19 January 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, I’m not a big fan of white chocolate either, precisely because of its sugariness. It could be interesting with a bittersweet, dark chocolate base? Imagine cutting into all this beautiful whiteness and discovering devilishy sexy dark chocolate cake in there (something light like mousse and sponge rather than pure sponge).

    Posted by S | 19 January 2006 #
  • wow, that’s almost too beautiful to eat - or even put a knife in!

    Though, I can imagine exactly how the cake itself must have tasted, having tried a Donna Hay white-choc cake myself. Heavy and overly sweet, and possibly rather bland? Like some others have already suggested, I’d say some spices may do a job, or maybe orange, if you stick to white chocolate as the central ingredient of the cake.

    Posted by chika | 19 January 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, Gorgeous white cake :-) Yum..Yum..Yum..I’d love the lighter version too but don’t mind to try this one for sure...Btw, I voted for you for the awards so let me know what you’d win soon :-) Cheers...

    Posted by Maya | 19 January 2006 #
  • wow, what wonderful creation and yay, white chocolate cake! i simply adore white choccie and can never have enough of it!

    Posted by Lil | 19 January 2006 #
  • Gorgeous, as usual, Keiko. I like white chocolate, but can see how that much would be overwhelming. Using a relatively simple buttermilk cake could work, since the slight tang of the buttermilk should set off the sweetness of the chocolate sheets and/or filling.

    Posted by Nic | 19 January 2006 #
  • Keiko...simply...Wonderful!!!

    I love your recipe and pic’s!!!;-)


    Posted by Gourmet | 19 January 2006 #
  • keiko,

    that’s simply beautiful! I love the uneven height of the white chocolates, making it even more interesting. and of course the shadesa of white as you have also mentioned.

    some suggestions for your kind consideration.

    - since its a birthday cake, probably it will be a good idea to add splash of reds to add a little warm. perhaps some smaller red roses, standing higher then the whiee rose. making it resemmbling like "candles"

    - i love baby-breath, would put them around the base of white chocolates making the base looking prettier

    - making candied rose petals is great but i think it’s too much work

    cheers ...

    Posted by slurp! | 19 January 2006 #
  • Keiko - for your diary. July 16th - my birthday!!

    Posted by Barbara | 19 January 2006 #
  • what a waste of flowers

    Posted by waste | 20 January 2006 #
  • that indeed is a lovely-looking cake, so lovely that I probably could not bear to slice into it !

    Posted by eatzycath | 20 January 2006 #
  • it’s absolutly gorgeous keiko !I love white too as a color and have always white flowers in my house !!

    I agree with the sweetness of white chocolate, perhaps adding some spices and wheeped cream to make it lighter, I’m waiting for the "new" recepie you’ll find to make it a litlle different !

    Posted by mercotte | 20 January 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    What a beautiful cake. I’m sure the recipient of it was extremely happy with it!

    Posted by Reid | 20 January 2006 #
  • It is just so gorgeous Keiko, congratulations. Even though, I don’t appreciate white chocolate, yours looks perfect and those white roses are my favourite flowers, so pure! I may imagine your hesitation to cut them. And your photos are really amazing: a true piece of joy. Thank you

    Posted by bonheursdesophie | 20 January 2006 #
  • Waouh! I didn’t realize first it was a cake!


    Posted by Scherneel | 20 January 2006 #
  • Hi there, thanks so much for all your kind notes and suggestions - to be perfectly honest, I didn’t think the original recipe was going to be great (!), but I wanted to try to see what it was like.

    Jasmine - I actually made white chocolate & cardamom mousse with this cake :) The combination is my favourite! And what a great idea to add rosewater...


    Alanna - your suggestion reminded me that I’ve made white chocolate parfait with lavender scented meringues! Here is the link. Cinnamon sounds great too.

    Emily - I’m glad we feel the same way about cutting stems off. I’m looking forward to seeing your beautiful cake.

    Lisa - your cake sounds really delicious! Interesting flavours.

    Carin - I think you’re right about adding something acidic, I’ll look for similar recipes.

    Seiko-san - I’m obviously inspired by your beautiful rose pictures...

    Fanny - regarding the ’lumps’ I was in a rush when I was making it - so I might have heated the bain marie too hot/the steam might have got into it.

    Sha - which spice do you think is best with chocolate? (I think cardamom... :))

    Kelli - I loved your birthday cake, looking forward to seeing another beautiful creation of yours.

    S - I was thinking exactly the same thing - dark chocolate cake, maybe with mousse and sponge combination...

    Chika - I should have asked you before I tried this recipe, shouldn’t I? Yes, it was bland and I didn’t like the heavy texture at all. I remember you’ve been trying some interesting flavour combinations, I shall go back to your posts again :)

    Nic - buttermilk sounds great too!

    Slurp - I must say I quite like your ’splash of red’ idea...

    Barbara - I’ve put the date in my diary ;)

    Waste - actually, I didn’t waste the flowers at all - I took all the petals off and put into a bowl with floating candles, they lasted longer than if I had kept them in a vase :)

    Mercotte - I always have white flowers in our house too ;)

    Reid - this is still a trial version and I must make a better one!

    Bonheursdesophie - I’m not mad about white chocolate per se either, I should have done something to start with, I know!

    Posted by keiko | 20 January 2006 #
  • Well, it sure looks fab. And, you have one of those beautiful glass cake stands that I really, really, um, NEED.

    Posted by Anna | 20 January 2006 #
  • Hi Anna - thank you for your kind notes, I was trying to leave comments on your site without success, and couldn’t find your email address either. Could you send me a quick email when you have time? Thanks so much. I bought the cake stand in Paris but i’ve seen very similar ones in London too. I’ll let you know next time I find one.

    Posted by keiko | 20 January 2006 #
  • So beautiful and elegant, as usual. (I’m wondering if roses are as expensive as they are here in Japan... Sorry. This is the way obachans are...)

    Posted by obachan | 21 January 2006 #
  • hi keiko, too beautiful for words, of course - white on white, and every nuance in between. do you think something zesty/citrusy might help cut through the sweetness - say a mandarin flavoured white chocolate mousse, perhaps layered with an almond joconde?

    Posted by Joycelyn | 21 January 2006 #
  • Really amazing photos of your cake.

    Posted by Kalyn | 21 January 2006 #
  • Waouh, I am not sure if it’s a dream or if your blog today it’s real.

    I know, but so fantastic, sunshine in my life today, thank you

    Posted by AnneE | 21 January 2006 #
  • First time I visit your blog. What called my attention to start withw as the cake which I recognized as being a Donna Hay. Beautiful photos. At this point in time I have no suggestions to make with regards to an alterative recipe.

    Posted by valentina | 22 January 2006 #
  • We really don’t mind the lumps. The white on white look is magnified by your pictures. I hope you had your own food magazine!



    Posted by fanny from FOOD BEAM | 22 January 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, what a fabulous looking cake! It would have broken my heart to cut into it... Have you tried a citrus with the white chocolate to lighten it up, if you can get yuzu, that works pretty well... My birthday is in September by the way ;-)!

    Posted by Vivilicious | 23 January 2006 #
  • Wow, that is beautifu! I too find white chocolate to often be too sweet. Everyone else posted great suggestions, I hope you find one that works well.

    Posted by gemma | 23 January 2006 #
  • How beautiful!

    Posted by Tanya | 23 January 2006 #
  • Keiko, congratulations on your win in the Food Blog Awards!!! You so deserve it, with pictures like these!

    Posted by melissa | 23 January 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, congratulations on winning the award for best photography! Your photos, as always, are incredible!

    Posted by Clement | 23 January 2006 #

    About the cake , since I went to a cake shop in town today

    something cake to my mind to balance the sweetness

    COINTREAU OR GRAND MARNIER.... thats according to my palate

    other than the spicy thought on choc.


    Posted by sha | 23 January 2006 #
  • Congratulations Keiko. You just deserve to win, your photographies are just a lovely piece of art. Thank you. Always awaiting your next creation.

    Posted by bonheursdesophie | 23 January 2006 #
  • Keiko! congratulations!

    and I must awesomely delicious looking cake!!

    Posted by Meena | 23 January 2006 #
  • Congratulations!! A very well-deserved win! Look forward to seeing more of your beautiful photography!

    Posted by Kat & Satoshi | 24 January 2006 #
  • Where can I find the results of the Food Blog Awards? From what I get have won the Photography Award? Very congratulation, Keiko. Your photos are wonderful. You are the woman behind it all...Bravo! Cheers...

    Posted by Maya | 24 January 2006 #
  • YOU WON!!


    Posted by Melissa | 24 January 2006 #
  • Look here folks

    Congratulations Keiko!!!

    Posted by slurp! | 24 January 2006 #
  • sorry somehow the underscore in the link were remove when i posted.

    check the results here...

    Posted by slurp! | 24 January 2006 #
  • Keiko,

    Congratulations on winning! You most definitely deserved it - your photos are always so gorgeous and an inspiration to us all! I look forward to seeing many more!

    Posted by Anita | 24 January 2006 #
  • Congratulation Keiko !! Your pics are so great you really deserved to win !!!

    Bravo !!


    Posted by Fred | 24 January 2006 #
  • lovely site. beautiful pictures.


    Posted by trisha | 25 January 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, first of all, congratulations on winning the Best Foodblog Photography Award. How can you not? Your creations are just simply stunning! I love visuals too and you certainly have the eye and artistry for photography for which never fails to deliver a masterpiece.

    Secondly, please would you bake a cake for either my birthday or wedding? hahaha. This is an ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS cake.

    Oh, and thanks for visiting my site.

    Posted by mae | 31 January 2006 #
  • Hi there, thank you so much again for all your kind notes.

    Obachan - I actually bought them at a supermarket :) I think they are about the same price as they are in Japan.

    Joycelyn - sounds perfect...

    Vivlicious - yuzu is one of the things I really miss since I left Japan... I’ve put your birthday in my diary ;)

    Mae - I love your site, it’s beautiful and I especially like the site name :)

    Posted by keiko | 2 February 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko!

    First of all, congratulations on your winning. I love the photos you post here, they’re incredible, and I have to say I turned one of them into my desktop wallpaper for a while.

    REgarding the cake, how about green tea as a flavor?

    I had this incredible type of Green Tea at Sakura downtown (I live in Jerusalem, Israel), and I loved how delicate and ocean-breezy its taste was. I think it would add a very interesting dimension to white chocolate...It would shoot it into the stratosphere, turn it somewhat more ethereal.

    Posted by malka lev adom | 11 February 2006 #
  • Hi Malka - thank you so much for your notes, I hope you find another favourite wallpaper from my latest posts ;) The combination of green tea and white chocolate sounds interesting, I must give it a try some time, thanks for your suggestion! Can you get a lot of Japanese stuff in Jerusalem?

    Posted by keiko | 16 February 2006 #
  • Visually stunning. Even without your saving the petals I’d say the roses were sacrificed in a worthy cause.

    I’m not a cake person and get a lot more excited about a toasted cheese, pickle and tomatoe sandwish than almost any piece of cake but, on the rare occasions when I do have cake, I usually like to cut the sweet flavor with spirits, (in this case vodka).

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes and photos.

    Posted by Adrian | 8 June 2006 #
  • Dear Keiko

    Ever the inspiration - and I’ve got a wedding coming up...!

    My soon to be husband is to my dismay not very fund of what I call proper chocolate. Hence I do a lot of cakes and stuff with white chocolate. And people tend to give me standing ovations whenever I combine the white chocolate with raspberries: Pound cake, white chocolate mousse with raspberry twirl, etc. And the you could add pink or red roses...

    Love your site


    Posted by Elsebeth | 9 June 2006 #
  • Hi Adrian - thank you for your kind notes, I love your idea of cutting the sweet flavour with spirits, very adult :)

    Hi Elsebeth - you must be a great baker, you’ll never go wrong with a white chocolate and raspberry combination!

    Many congratulations, I hope you’ll have a wonderful wedding day!

    Posted by keiko | 12 June 2006 #
  • Not having seen the recipe I do not know if you used unsalted butter in the cake mixture. I find that if you use unsalted butter it makes the cake itself less sweet than if you use butter or margarine that has salt in it.

    Posted by Karen | 11 August 2006 #
  • Hi

    Where can i get the recipe for that cake?

    I would like to make it for my dauther.

    Many thanks,


    Posted by Yael Achiaz | 31 October 2006 #
  • Hi Karen – thank you for your note and I’m sorry I didn’t get back sooner. I always use unsalted butter for pastry making, I think that this recipe simply needs something acidic added like fruit.

    Hi Yael – I’m sorry I didn’t get back sooner, as I noted in the post I found the recipe in Donna Hay magazine issue 21 (although I think you need to improve the recipe!)

    Posted by keiko | 12 January 2007 #
  • Cool cake, very nice. I told my wife now, she schould make one for me this weekend… Thanks, very nice.

    Posted by Strafverteidiger München | 4 May 2007 #
  • this looks like a very luxury dish! ^^
    maybe coconut/banana/ricecakes for some variation and more fluffyness?

    Posted by noogies | 9 February 2008 #
  • Hi noogies – thank you for your suggestion, it sounds lovely!

    Posted by keiko | 14 February 2008 #
  • It looks lovely. You make things look just a bit yummier because they are so pretty!
    I quite like white chocolate paired with citrus and coconut. Or maybe raspberry?

    Posted by Laura | 9 July 2009 #
  • Hi Laura – thank you for your kind note and suggestions, I think I’m going to try it with coconut next time :)

    Posted by keiko | 14 August 2009 #
  • A suggestion to make the cake less heavy, would be to separate the eggs, and whip the egg whites until they are stiff, and then fold the egg whites into the batter, this would create a lighter chiffon cake. By the way, this cake looks gorgeous!

    Posted by Ryan Christy | 21 September 2009 #

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