Friday, March 11, 2016

Cardamom Orange Cake with Orange-Honey Syrup

Spongy, yellow cake, with a spicy undertone
Close up of orange cake
Last time I was at my Oma's house, I was able to get a bag full of fragrant, juicy oranges, from her orange tree in the backyard. I love having so much citrus on hand, because it motivates me to get creative with what I cook and bake.

I made this cake to appeal to different senses. It's very floral and the spice component of the cardamom is very grounding and soothing in a way. The orange-honey syrup adds a stickiness to it  (which reminds me of this story I read as a child, making it feel nostalgic). The overall texture is spongy and delicate. It's a lovely cake that goes great with a cup of tea. I even ate it for breakfast, but you don't have to follow that lead.

I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think.

Happy baking.

Cardamom and Orange Cake with Orange-Honey Syrup
Serves: 8 Time: 1 hr Adapted from my Matcha Green Tea Drizzle Cake

Ingredients:
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp, all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
orange zest, from one small orange
1/2 cup sugar, preferably organic
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter, melted

Orange-Honey Syrup:
freshly squeezed orange juice from one small orange, about 1/4 cup
1/2 cup water
2 star anise pods
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp orange zest
créme fraîche (or sour cream), for serving

How To:
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare an 8 or 9 inch spring-form pan. Cut a parchment circle to fit the bottom. Butter the bottom for the paper to stick on it, and butter the sides well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and orange zest. Set aside.

Set up a double-boiler, or place a sauce pan with two inches of water in it, on the stove top. Bring to a boil, then drop to a light simmer. Place a heat-proof bowl over prepared pan. The bowl should be large enough that steam from below can't come into the mixture above in the bowl. Add sugar and eggs into the bowl. Whip the mixture (I use a hand held electric whip) until it becomes light and frothy, about 3-5 minutes. The mass will have doubled or tripled in size, and it will be quite airy.

Add about a half cup of the egg mixture into the dry mixture. Mix well until no lumps. Now, gently fold in the flour mixture into the whipped eggs. Continue to stir gently until no flour lumps remain. Pour the vanilla and the melted butter into the side of the pan. Gently fold until just combined. Use caution not to over mix. The texture will be like thin cake batter.

Gently pour into prepared pan. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until wood pick comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prepare the drizzle. In a small saucepan, add orange juice, water, star anise, honey, and orange zest. Turn heat on to medium. Once mixture begins to bubble, turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced. Turn off heat and set aside.

When cake is finished baking, let set in pan for 15—30 minutes before inverting. Run a knife or offset spatula around circumference of cake. Invert cake on to a serving plate (and remove the parchment). You may also choose to let the cake rest until it is fully cool before inverting. Using a tooth pick or skewer, poke many holes around the whole cake. Pour drizzle over the top of the cake, reserving about a tablespoon of the drizzle.

In a small bowl, mix a few tablespoons of créme fraîche (or sour cream) with a teaspoon or so of the drizzle. Dollop on to serving slices and garnish with orange segments. 

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