Lychee Rose Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream for a Cheat Day Bonanza

Credit: Gerald Lee

Two weeks has passed since we celebrated the coming of the new decade, the year 2020. I am happy to report that many of us haven’t fallen down the new year’s resolution wagon of keeping fit and eating healthy. This calls for a celebration and every celebration needs a cake.

Coincidentally, I have just the cake for you to make whenever you feel like having a cheat day. Trust me, this is one cake that you would want to bake and eat it too!

A Well-Deserved Treat

This Lychee Rose Cake received so much compliments that I have to share this recipe with you.  The sweet floral scent and taste of the lychee with a hint of rose water makes it a refreshing and delightful cake to eat especially with that silky smooth but not overly sweet Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

If you have not tried making a Lychee Rose Cake, you should try it now! You’ll know what I mean after taking a mouthful of this delicious treat. You have been good for almost two weeks now. You deserve a little treat for that, right? Let’s put down the salad and start prepping for this.


a) Sponge Cake Mix A

  • 90ml fresh milk
  • 140g cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 60g melted salted butter (ensure its melted to room temperature)
  • 4 medium size egg yolks
  • 1 tbs lychee essence
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water

b) Sponge Cake Mix B

  • 4 medium-sized egg whites
  • 55g fine castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar

c) Beet Root Essence

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) cooked beetroot, canned or fresh

d) Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 80g castor sugar
  • 150g butter, room temperature
  • ¼ tsp lychee essence
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon of natural pink  beetroot essence

e) Decorations

  • 1 can of lychee (preferrably fresh lychee if it’s in season)
  • 2 tablespoons of Pomegranate seeds
  • 8 fresh raspberries (optional)


a) Mix A

  1. Line bottom of 3 x 8 inch cake round pan with 1 layer of parchment paper .  Do not need to grease the cake pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 175 Celcius.
  3. Whisk the castor sugar and egg yolks till well combined.  Mix in the melted butter.  Add in the lychee essence and rose water.  Whisk thoroughly. 
  4. Add in the sifted cake flour and baking powder into the mixture.  Add salt.  Whisk till all the ingredients are combined with no lumps.

b) Mix B

  1. With an electric mixer, whisk egg whites till frothy. 
  2. Add in the cream of tartar.  Whisk till thick foam forms. 
  3. Gradually, add in the castor sugar.  Continue to whisk till firm peaks are formed.

c) Combining Sponge Cake Mix A and B

  1. Gently fold in the egg whites mixture into the yolk mixture in 4 batches.  Mix till well combined.
  2. Gently pour in 220g of the cake batter into an 8 inch cake pan.
  3. Shake the cake pan side to side till the batter is level, tapping the pan against the tabletop to remove air bubbles.
  4. Place on the medium rack of the oven, bake for 20 minutes til golden brown on top or till the toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove cake from the oven, leave to cool.  Using a butter knife, gently slice through the side of the cake pan to loosen it.  Unmould the cake to a cake board and remove the parchment paper.  Peel off the cake skin on top of the sponge cake.  Repeat twice so you get 3 sponge layers.

d) Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. Cut the butter into cubes. Set aside to melt in room temperature.
  2. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk with a hand whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Rub between your fingers to check if there is any unmelted sugar.
  3. Transfer the egg whites mixture to a mixer bowl. With a whisk attachment, beat over high speed until stiff peaks are formed.  Let it cool to room temperature before adding the butter. This will prevent the butter from melting. To speed up the process, you may leave the meringue in the refrigerator.
  4. At low speed, add in the butter cubes gradually then turn up the whisk to high speed. Beat until the mixture comes together. Scrap the bowl if necessary.  At one stage, it will look curdled, but keep on beating until it combines into a smooth buttercream.
  5. Add in the lychee essence and mix till combined.
  6. Remove 1/3 of the Swiss Meringue Buttercream to another bowl.  Set aside .
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of Beetroot Essence to the remaining buttercream in the mixer and mix till well combined and turns into a light pastel pink color.

e) Assembling the cake

  1. Spread a layer of the White Swiss Meringue Buttercream (GMSMB) on top of the cake.
  2. Add lychee chunks on the SMBC layer.
  3. Then stake the second cake layer on top and repeat steps 1-2. Place the third layer on top.
  4. Coat the top of the cake with the pink SMBC.
  5. Pipe rose swirls with GMSMB using a 1M piping tip around the top of the cake.
  6. Decorate the top of cake with pomegranate seeds and raspberries.
  7. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!

Who would have thought lychee and rose can be used to make such a dainty, light cake that has just the right amount of richness to satisfy your cravings without making you overindulge. Since I am not on a diet, I am going to have a second helping. Can’t resist it!

If you want more indulging recipes such as this one, check out some of my recipes that I have shared on Butterkicap. If you have any questions, don’t be shy to ask them via my Instagram account @justinescakesandkueh or at @butterkicap.

Justine Lim

With love for the freshest and natural ingredients, Justine Lim aspires to recreate heritage Malaysian recipes into modern, elegant-looking delicacies. Catch more of her delicious creations on her Instagram profile, @justinescakesnkueh

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