Orange and Poppyseed Cake

6 Mar

There are many challenges in life. Entertaining guests for dinner is a challenge. Creating a menu for dinner guests is a challenge. Making a dessert that is delicious and good for you and doesn’t contain twenty five different and unusual ingredients is a huge challenge. And this is exactly the challenge that presented itself to me on Thursday evening last week. We had invited some Swiss friends over to our apartment for dinner on Friday night and I was struck with memory block and I tried to think of something to make for dessert. Our friends are not big eaters and my hubby did not want anything too sweet. So I started with the usual fruit tarts and berry crumbles and poached pears and stewed apples until my memory reappeared and I remember an Orange and Poppyseed Cake that a friend had made for me once. Excitedly I texted her for the recipe and anxiously awaited her reply. Friday morning came and I was still waiting for a response so it was trusty google to the rescue and that’s when I  came across this recipe from Luv’n Spoonfuls. Except for all the unusual ingredients than cannot be found in any supermarket or specialty food store in Geneva, it was exactly what I was looking for; a healthy dessert!

The Preparation

IMG_0712The recipe asks for turbinado sugar, almond extract, orange flower water, white whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour, none of which could be found on such short notice. I used raw cane sugar, plain white flour and a little vanilla extract instead. I also used blood oranges instead of the normal blonde oranges for their slight tangy-ness and vibrant colour.

I used the electric mixer until the adding of the eggs at which point I changed to the old mixing by hand method. I am also so scared of curdling the mixture when I add the eggs so I hand mix when adding the eggs then back to the electric mixer to ensure it is well combined.

IMG_0713The Baking

I don’t own a Bundt tin so I used a 23cm spring-form tin lined with baking paper (to save on the washing up!). Unfortunately the different tin meant that the advised cooking time of 20-40 minutes was pushed out to 1 hour. Each oven is different though so I would advise testing the cake with a skewer every 5 to 10 minutes after the original 40 minutes just to be sure.

As you can see from the photos below, the additional cooking time meant a browner and harder crust than expected. The harder outside impacted on the ability of the cake to absorb the syrup which, as mentioned in recipe, should add more moisture to the cake. As I used plain flour instead of the whole wheat flours, the cake itself was still moist enough without having the syrup soaked through.  I will try leaving the fan off next time to hopefully reduce the browning. Or poke some holes in the top of the cake so that the syrup can run through!

IMG_0714The Finished Product

As I mentioned above, the syrup did not soak into the cake as expected, however remained as a lovely, sticky, sweet glaze on the top. I reduced slightly the amount of sugar in the syrup and when combined with the extra sharpness from the juice of the blood organges it results in a syrup that is not overly sweet. The cake itself was very light with a fine crumble.

The Tasting

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Surprisingly there was still a portion of cake left on Monday morning and so I treated my colleagues to the remnants of this delicious cake. Needless to say the plate was wiped clean before lunch.

I am addicted to MasterChef (the Australian series of course!) and I am sure that Matt, George and Gary would give this cake two thumbs up for the light texture of the cake, the tangy-ness of the blood oranges, the sweetness of the syrup and the crunch of the poppyseeds – there must always be a “crunch element”!

I hope you enjoy this cake as much a we did.

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