For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I go on a big rant every year about the ridiculous Ramadan desserts produced by all the pastry shops and restaurants in Egypt. After having gone through the trouble of explaining my point of view on why chocolate and Middle Eastern sweets “don’t mix”, let me tell you why The Four Fat Ladies have finally given me hope this year. First of all, they produced 4 stunning Ramadan cakes without using chocolate! I tried both the Date Cake and the Cardamom Rose Water Cake, but in this review I am mainly focusing on the Cardamom Rose Water Cake. When someone tells you that cardamom and cake will come together, you will probably start to make some harsh facial gestures as you think about the pungent taste of cardamom, which is usually used in soups, stews and savory Oriental dishes. Not a fan of the overpowering perfume of rose water? Yeah, me neither… But that cardamom cake, really shattered all my misconceptions and false imaginations about how it would taste. The cake itself was obviously baked to perfection (like every other cake made by The Four Fat Ladies). It had a nice, tender crumb and was moist and fluffy as can be. Sadly the buttercream frosting did not tolerate the heatwave very well and it was glistening with butter unless refrigerated. The flavor of the cardamom and the rose water was just right… Not too overpowering but definitely noticeable. The crushed pistachio coat on the frosted sides was also a beautiful addition of color and really helped the whole thing look like it came out of the Orient.
This cake is definitely a prime example of a successful ‘East meets West’ creation. I think that this is the better and more refined direction that dessert and pastry chefs should be adopting in Ramadan. Konafa is awesome and Nutella is irresistible, but not anything containing Konafa and Nutella has to be good. People have to think about the pairing of sweet flavors and how each ingredient will evoke a certain sensation that communicates the chef’s skill, talent and creativity without making cringe… If I just want to have a sugar coma, then I will just swallow a cup of sugar; thank you very much!