Day 90- Buy Scented Geraniums

#93, Buy Scented Geraniums

Years ago I had a collection of scented geraniums. I had about fifteen or twenty different varieties, ranging from rose to pineapple to spearmint . I loved using the leaves to scent sugar for iced tea, and I used the blossoms to decorate cakes.

In those days, I was reading Emelie Tolley. My favorite books of hers were Herbs, and Cooking With Herbs.


She used scented geraniums in a few of her recipes: a peach cobbler with geranium leaves a rose geranium cake, and a lemon angel cake.

I decided to make the rose geranium cake. It was easy enough.

First I wrapped the butter in rose geranium leaves and put them back in the refrigerator to “rest” overnight.

IMG_7607(Well, the intention was to let the butter rest overnight. I actually let them fall into a three day coma before I used them, but it was just fine.)


Next I creamed the butter and the sugar together. The recipe said to cream until light. Many people don’t mix enough at this stage. I let the mixer go for about 8 minutes. Here is what light is supposed to look like.


I added the flour and the liquids and poured the batter into two greased and buttered pans lined with rose geranium leaves.


I baked the cakes for half an hour. They looked pretty and smelled heavenly.


I turned them out once they cooled. The recipe said to remove the leaves from the bottom of the cake, but my leaves were heavy (maybe from the extra butter time) and sank into the cake. After I removed one, and it left a hole, I decided to allow the rest of the leaves to remain in the cake.


While the cakes were baking I made the icing. Rose geranium leaves are finely chopped and folded in to the icing. My icing was a little tight so I whipped in three or four tablespoons of cream to loosen it up.

I iced the cake with a thin crumb coat and placed it in the freezer until it set up. Then I iced it again.

I love the old-fashioned homey look of the finished cake.


I sliced it right away.


It was very moist and fresh. The flavor is sweet and delicate. It would be lovely with tea.

I was worried that the texture of the minced geranium leaves might be rough and grassy, but that wasn’t the case at all. There is a slight herbal hint of Spring and flowers, but for the most part it is an extremely light and simple white cake.

I’ve asked for permission to reprint Emelie Tolley’s recipe here. If I get it, I’ll let you know.

I’m looking forward to finding out other uses of scented geraniums. There were only three varieties available at my local nursery when I visited. I bought them all.

This one is “mimosa”.


This one is “roses”.


This one is “citronella”.


I will buy a few more when I find them and put them at the border of my future herb garden.

I have seen coconut, strawberry, and cinnamon scented geraniums on eBay, so that might be an option too.

It’s fun to show guests through the garden and quiz them on the different plants, asking if they can recognize the scents by rubbing the leaves between their fingers. I love seeing the surprise on their faces when they smell chocolate mint or lemon verbena or nutmeg.

If you live in Hardiness Zones, 9-11, and have an area with full sun or part shade, you might like to try growing scented geraniums.

275 days to go!






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