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Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line the base and sides of 3 x 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tins with baking parchment. Tip all the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk until well combined. Divide the mixture between the 3 cake tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 45 mins, swapping the tins halfway through so they cook evenly. Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tins, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the rose syrup, put the sugar in a pan with 100ml water and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bubble for 1-2 mins, then remove from the heat. Add the rose water: start with 1 tsp and taste, as some varieties are much stronger than others – just be careful as the syrup will be really hot. Spoon half the syrup over the 3 sponges and set aside.
Add 2 tbsp of the syrup to the raspberries and crush them with a fork. Push the raspberries through a sieve into a bowl and discard the seeds. Sift in the icing sugar and mix to a smooth icing. In a second bowl, add another 2 tbsp of the syrup and the vanilla to the cream and whisk until it holds soft peaks. Chill until needed.
To assemble, place one cake, flat-side up, on a plate or cake stand, and top with half the cream and a third of the remaining raspberries (see tips, below). Sandwich another cake on top and add the remaining cream, another third of the raspberries, then the last cake. Smooth the raspberry icing over the top, letting it drizzle down the sides. To decorate, we used a mixture of rose petal pieces (available from cookshops or online), homemade crystallised rose petals (see step-by-step, above) and the reserved raspberries.
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