rose hip cake

Spiced Rose Hip Cake Recipe

Recently I was chatting with my friend and fellow herbalist Thomas Easley about the many ways to approach food.

As herbalists we love to talk about food as medicine. We revel in our daily meals being a source of strength and healing. But, of course, this is just one viewpoint.

Have you heard that saying, some people eat to live while others live to eat?

For some, food is simply fuel: calories taken in order to supply energy needed to go about their day.

For others, food is a delight! The smells, tastes, and textures are all to be savored and perfected.

For many, food is a time to connect with family and friends. To break bread together is just as much about the food as about enjoying each other’s company. Beyond the casual, many traditions and holidays center around food. What would Easter be without eggs or winter holidays without your favorite treats?

Of course none of these perspectives have to exist on their own. And when food can encompass all of these approaches then we can enjoy it on many levels.

And that is what I set out to do with this rose hip cake recipe!

I wanted to create something that is healing and nourishing while also being delicious! Something that could be enjoyed with friends and family over a cup of tea. I also wanted this treat to be something to celebrate these colder months of the year by using seasonal fruit and spices. This could be your new winter tradition!

Before we get to the rose hip cake recipe, here’s a peek at what’s in it.

rose hip cake

Rose Hips (Rosa spp.)

Well known for their vitamin C content, rose hips gifts go beyond this! They can help to modulate inflammation, support heart health, and even reduce pain. Studies that show the most benefits are when people eat fairly large amounts of rose hips daily. For example, in one study people were given 40 grams of rose hip powder daily for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, there was a significant improvement in blood pressure and plasma cholesterol in the people taking the rose hip powder as compared to the control group.1

If you want to get lots of vitamin C from your rose hips, then eating them fresh is the best. However, while dried rose hips may not have as much vitamin C as fresh ones, they still offer many benefits.

This recipe uses rose hip seed powder and dried de-seeded rose hips (that are rehydrated). I get both of these from Mountain Rose Herbs. If you’d like, you can harvest, de-seed, and use fresh rose hips for the frosting.

rose hip cake

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.)

Cinnamon is in practically everything I bake. Its delicious taste would be enough of a reason to frequently cook with it, but its health benefits make it all the sweeter. Cinnamon has been widely studied for its ability to reduce blood glucose levels, a benefit to those with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. A recent study also showed that it could reduce fasting insulin for people diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).2

Another small study showed that cinnamon could improve glucose levels and insulin sensitivity in healthy volunteers.3 That study also concluded that results are best when cinnamon is used daily. Larger amounts are needed when using cinnamon for specific purposes (the study with PCOS used one and a half grams per day and the study in healthy volunteers used three grams per day), but we can still benefit from using small amounts on a regular basis.

rose hip cake

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)

Nutmeg is a calming spice that is best when freshly ground. You can buy special graters for this or you can simply use the small side of a cheese grater. Warmed nutmeg milk is a common drink to help support sleep.

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)

Cloves are the highly aromatic dried flower blossoms from an evergreen tree native to Indonesia. In herbal medicine they are famous for helping to stop the pain of a toothache. In baked goods they are used sparingly because their flavor can be so intense!

rose hip cake

Spiced Rose Hip Cake

Deliciously aromatic with the fresh, tart flavor of rose hips, this rose hip cake is a delicious treat to enjoy with your favorite cup of tea (I love roasted dandelion root!).

What you’ll need…


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup rose hip powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk


  • 1/4 cup dried de-seeded rose hips
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  1. Begin by rehydrating the dried rose hips for the frosting. Place the dried rose hips in a small bowl. Add the apple juice.
  2. Let sit for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. Before using, taste a bit to make sure the rose hips have softened completely.

rose hip cake

  1. When you’re ready to make the cake: preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 9-inch pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, rose hip powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.

rose hip cake

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and honey together. Add the vanilla and eggs. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. At a low speed (or by hand), beat in the milk until just combined (the mixture will look lumpy or curdled).

rose hip cake

  1. Add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated. If necessary, add a bit more milk. The mixture will be very thick (due to the rose hips). Do not over mix or it will become thicker and thicker.
  2. Bake until a knife inserted in center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool before frosting.

  1. To make the frosting, combine the rehydrated rose hips mixture, butter, cream cheese, and honey together. Spread evenly on the cake.


Yield: About 9 servings

Now I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have any food traditions around rose hips? Or other favorite herbal goodies you enjoy this time of year?

Please share in the comments below.

Show 3 footnotes

  1. U. Andersson et al., “Effects of Rose Hip Intake on Risk Markers of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Cross-Over Investigation in Obese Persons,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 66, no. 5 (2012): 585–90,
  2. Mahdie Hajimonfarednejad et al., “Insulin Resistance Improvement by Cinnamon Powder in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial,” Phytotherapy Research: PTR 32, no. 2 (February 2018): 276–83,
  3. Thomas P. J. Solomon and Andrew K. Blannin, “Changes in Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Sensitivity Following 2 Weeks of Daily Cinnamon Ingestion in Healthy Humans,” European Journal of Applied Physiology 105, no. 6 (2009): 969–76,
  1. Thank you so appreciate your knowledge and sharing

  2. I don’t have rosehip powder but I do have dried rosehips. Can I place what I do have in a spice grinder and make a powder with them to use in this recipe?

    • Yep! I’m going to do the same!

    • If your dried rosehips have already been deseeded, then you are welcome to give it a go with grinding them yourself. You don’t want the irritating hairs from the seeds in your dried rosehip seed powder, though.

  3. Sounds lovely! Such a pity that wheat flour makes Insulin go up, which increases inflammation in the body , undoing all the work of the herbs! I would make this with Almond or Coconut flour which DOESN’T increase Insulin and have 100% benefit from the recipe! thank you!

    • Hi I’m going to try this recipe. My question is are we to assume you are using grass fed butter, alternative or raw milk or organic ingredients, or does it not matter to you?
      Thanks, Linda

  4. Thanks for sharing your herbal knowledge and creativity! =)

  5. What age is appropriate for your book?

    • As early as the child can read? I am kidding, of course, but as soon as the child shows an interest and capacity to cook. My daughter was older when this book came out (high school), but she would have been able to use it effectively probably around 10-12 years old.

  6. Please get a Pin button so we do not have to print recipes out… And we can also organize them better. This recipe sounds great because I live in the “Middle. Maybe upper Middle? Food enjoyment(flour, sugar) is more than just eating for health. It is also tied to community and family memories and favorites. Overindulgence and excesses are what I try to work on. I think the occasional treat is good for the soul. And adding herbs in a Great Thing.

  7. Oops! I stand corrected…the Pin button took too long for Ms Impatience to find. LOL. I added this recipe to my “Herbal Recipes” section and I will try it! Thank you!

    • I am glad you found it and are happy! :)

  8. Thanks for this! Going to try to figure out if I can veganize 😋

  9. Hi and Happy Holidays. I looked at the recipe and it says to use flour. Did you try the recipe with any alternative flours like Tiger Nut or some other. Anyway, I am GF and dairy free except that I do eat eggs. Thanks for any insights you might have.

    • Please give it a try with your usual substitutes and let us know how it goes!

  10. I would ask the same question as Mari… Linda M

  11. Hi ladies..
    I am a gluten free baker and have a few ideas for y’all..
    In order to replace 2 cups with gluten free flours, some other adjustments may have made. It is a challenge for sure, but these are some of my suggestions: I like almond flour mixed woth cassava, and a wee bit of arrowroot. Coconut would be difficult to use if you cannot eat eggs, Mari. I’m sure you know that already. I would recommend The Urban Poser’s site because she does a more pastry type of approach to gluten free. I personally, avoid all bean flours, corn, potatoes, and xanthan gums. Sometimes I add in a bit of apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar to increase the lift of.the cake; also can whip the egg whites and fold in for additional lift. Instead of dairy milk, one could try coconut- but the fat content is higher and I haven’t experimented with all the other alternatives just yet: hemp, oat, cashew, almond, pea? Whatever adjustments you make, I’m sure it will be an adventure to get it just right. I know all these ingredients are more expensive, and availability may be an issue. Another option is to bake them as cupcakes, and possibly they will be more moist. That’s a huge issue in the gluten free baking experience! Slightly underbaking is key, or at least watching very closely!! I also start baking at a higher temperature to get lift, then lower it halfway through the baking time and let it bake a bit longer..seems to help to maintain more moisture.
    Another good book but one that doesn’t list a lot of options for replacing butter or eggs, is ‘Flavor Flours’ by Alice Medrich. She is a trained, professional baker, and gives excellent information on the flours and what/how/why they work!! Very good resource and everything that I’ve made from it has been spot on.
    Rosalee has a fantastic chocolate mousse cake, which is really a torte, in her Alchemy of Herb book. THAT is an amazingly delicious and PERFECT dessert for the holidays. I’ve made it and shared with dozens of people and am always asked for the recipe. Worth looking it up, or buying that book. I look forward to trying this recipe and when I do, I’ll share my recipe with the substitutions with all you lovely ladies!

    • Thank you for sharing your tips and ideas, Leslie! Happy Holidays!

  12. I’m going to try this recipe, but substitute flax eggs and almond mild for the dairy products which I don’t eat. This looks like a really flavorful cake and I’m eager to try it.

  13. Hi Rosalee,

    Have you ever made it without the eggs? Does it work? Thanks

    • This recipe will not work if you omit the eggs.

  14. I made this for Christmas, it was wonderful! Though i needed to make a few adjustments do to my diet… the egg i replaced with 2Tablespoons of chia seeds and 6 tablespoon of water and allowed to soak, the oil i traded out for applesauce, and the milke i used coconut milk

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