A Family Cake – Moroccan Orange Cake

 

Howdy Y’all,

Happy Hump Day, you are close to the weekend! Yay!  So I have not done a baking post for a long while (sorry) and this one is special. This is the cake that Mr L asks for each year for his birthday. (Yes I make a vague attempt to make a cake for family – who doesn’t want to blow out a candle and feel old?!) This is not only special because Mr L loves it but it is one of his family recipes. It is a cake that his mother makes (no pressure!!!!  I do not make it as good as her- end of.) It comes from his family cookbook (so you see they are good cooks!)  Many of you may not know but my husband is half Algerian and although this recipe is from Morocco and no my Geography is not that bad! I still think of it as a nod to my husbands heritage and therefore to me it is important. It is also yummy, and does not require lots of icing and decoration which is a win win for me. So I must thank my mother in law for taking the time to document all these family recipe’s it will be lovely for Little L to have a collection of recipes that generations of her family members have made before her, what a lucky little lady she is. Now onto the baking …

 

caster sugar making
Love my Kitchen Aid processor!

Lifestyle Lady Top Tip

Before I start, you will see below the recipe asks for  caster sugar. This is something I have struggled to find in the US, and it does definitely make a difference to the texture of the cake. To combat I use regular granulated sugar and measure the amount required, I then place it in my food processor for about 2 mins and Voila a consistency similar to caster sugar! This might sound like a time consuming faff but it is worth it. Makes for a lighter cake.

Other Information – US readers

  •  I cheated and used dried breadcrumbs and it worked fine. I am sure that it would taste better with fresh.
  • I could not find Star Anise, the seeds worked well.
  • Could not find Orange Flower Water so I used Orange essence.
  • Ground Almonds or Almond Flour is a little more expensive but can often be found on special, grab it then. It is usually found on the health aisles of most major grocery stores.
  • I use this microplane zester, one of the best purchases ever. Makes it so easy and I keep the skin on my knuckles. Win win.
  • This can be made ahead and actually tastes better the next day.
  • As my mother in law suggests it would make a super dessert.

 

Recipe

Moroccan Orange Cake – Courtesy of my mother-in-law

This cake is fragrant with spices and citrus aromas. The syrup makes it moist and soft. It can be served for dessert with a little whipped cream or Greek yoghurt.

Ingredients

For the cake:

5 large eggs, separated

300g caster sugar

350g ground almonds

4 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs

3 teaspoons baking powder

400ml sunflower oil

½ teaspoon almond essence

Finely grated zest of 2 oranges

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

For the syrup:

2 star anise

2 small cinnamon sticks

4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

4 tablespoons runny honey

2 tablespoons Orange Flower Water

Juice of 2 oranges

Juice of 1 lemon

Method

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180˚C). Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin. In a large mixing bowl, combine the caster sugar, ground almonds, breadcrumbs and baking powder. Add the citrus zests. In a jug, beat the eggs with the oil and add the almond essence. Now pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the syrup: gently heat the citrus juices, honey and spices in a small saucepan. Simmer for 3 minutes, then reserve, covered, for the flavours to infuse. Stir in the orange flower water just before using.

When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and pierce the top with a skewer all over. Remove the spices from the syrup and pour it over the hot cake, a little at a time, waiting for the cake to absorb the liquid as you do so. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then remove, using the baking paper to help you, and place on a serving plate. You can use the whole spices to decorate the top.

It will keep well for up to 3 days, stored in cling film or foil in the fridge.

Pictures 

Ground Almonds
Love love love these scales, I received them as a wedding gift and I think of that person every time. I love that about gifts – don’t you? All the dry ingredients.
dryingredients
I make sure I buy the biggest lemons and oranges I can find to get plenty of zest.
wetanddryingredients
Adding the wet ingredients to dry, the mix will look a little curdled/split that is totally fine.
mixedingredients
The split look but trust me it will come out yummy
cakeinoven
I forgot to take a picture before it went into the oven. Another note I usually have a baking tray underneath the tin, so its easy to get in and out of oven, this was the second one I had made in the week and I was in a hurry, I had to get to Peppa Pig theatre show – mummy problems.
syrup
While the cake is baking in the oven I make the lovely syrup. The smell is divine, another tip is place the fruit in the microwave for 20 seconds, the heat will help you squeeze more juice out.
finalcake
The finished article. Before you think its burnt it is not. It is saturated in syrup and the light makes the edges look black. It is so delicious please give it a try.

We all love this and I served it to Mr L’s office as cake of the month, it was different to anything they had before and not one slice was left, which is tribute to the taste of the cake. If you fancy something different give this a try.

Ta ta for now

TLL x

All I want for Christmas Gift Guide – Ladies Part One

Howdy Y’all,

How are you? I’m ok, but it has been very busy here. I have had visitors and Little L just turned two, (I am still recovering emotionally and physically after a toddler party!) I can hardly believe as I write this that we are half way through November and the holiday season is rapidly approaching (far quicker than I would like.)  If you have been visiting my site for a while, you will know that I love the holiday season, especially now that I have a daughter. I want to absorb and enjoy all the magic of the season. The only thing that can have me a little frazzled during the season is gift giving. I love to give gifts, but I do have lots to purchase and it’s important that people like what they receive. Whilst I appreciate that gift lists make the whole process much easier, I do feel that they can remove some of the magic. I like a gift to be a treat; something that the recipient might not need but will use or enjoy. There is no art to gift purchasing and with less and less time available for us to peruse the grand offerings I am going to offer you some suggestions and thoughts on the blog this week. I will be displaying a wide selection, but I do ask you to take these more as general ideas rather than specific product suggestions. In case you do like some of the featured products, I have linked all the images and made sure that they can be bought internationally or something similar sourced locally. I have also tried to cater to a variety of budgets. Even some of the pricier items will have a less expensive alternative, for example notepads can be purchased from Dollar Tree/ Pound Land or Smythsons.

Do you love to give gifts? Do you have people who are really difficult? Men I often find the hardest and I will share some suggestions for them later in the week. I may ask for some assistance from Mr L.

It is good to be back.

Enjoy

Ta Ta for now

TLL xx

image

1. Macbook Pro. This has to be the Aston Martin of laptops for bloggers, internet shoppers and computer-loving ladies. Versatile, lightweight and allows you the flexibility to work on the go or whenever you get a spare moment. They also look stylish and sophisticated. A real treat.

2. Rifle Paper Desk Pad. This company produces the most beautiful stationery, all women I know love stationery of all kinds. If like me you have a toddler removing notepads from your desk or you’re always looking for a scrap of paper to write on, then this might be perfect. Beautiful and useful.

3. Frends Headphones. Headphones designed for the lady. They look incredible and would be a welcomed gift for any lady. The colors are beautiful. Love a product which is stylish and functional.

4. Rifle Paper Notebooks. A Lady can never have too many of these, even if she is an electronics addict. So useful and beautiful.

5. Anthropologie Gold and White Mug. I feel like every photograph I have seen of a desk I like has had this mug or a similar one with pens being held in it. So pretty. It would also be wonderful to put coffee in.

6. Ringly. I have blogged before about my Ringly. For the busy lady who does not want to miss an email, text or IM again. You don’t have to have your phone in hand with this. Plus the craftsmanship of the ring is stunning. It simply looks like a beautiful piece of costume jewelry. A variety of colors and sizes available. A stylish must.

7. Target Desk Lamp. Good old Target, they never disappoint with some of the items they design and their price point. Although some might not think of a lamp as a gift, this to me is so stylish any woman would love it.

8. Aspinal of London Business Card Holder Quality company and quality product. Who wouldn’t want a stylish item to hold business cards in? These come in a variety or colors and you can have initials embossed. A lovely gift.

9. Rifle Paper Calendar. So many calendars on offer but every busy woman needs a stylish place to keep her life on track and Rifle Paper produce some of the prettiest calendars on the market.

10. Emily Ley Simplified Planner. Love these, keeps my life on track. All women need a planner and Emily’s are beautiful.

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1. French Linen Napkins, Amazon. One can never have enough napkins and I love the simple clean look of French Linen. Beautiful gift for anyone, male or female, also as a hostess gift. You could be ultra kind and have family initials embroidered into the corner. So elegant.

2. Spiralizer, William & Sanoma These are all the rage, especially if you want to watch your carb intake and want to increase your vegetables. I have heard so many good things about these. Great idea for the cook. Also ideal thing to use to make dinners after the holiday indulgences.

3. Marble Board, Sur La Table. Marble and Copper seem to be all the rage at the moment, and I must be honest: I think this board looks beautiful. It is clean and sophisticated whether for everyday or when hosting guests. Plus a great price point.

4. Floral Tablecloth, Kate Spade, Bed Bath & Beyond. Who does not love to brighten their table with a tablecloth and Kate Spade has some wonderful linens out. A great gift for any age.

5. KitchenAid Empire Red, Nespresso. I have to admit when I saw one of these in my local Nespresso  store I went a little weak at the knees. If you are a coffee lover and have not had Nespresso, go and try it. I must admit I have never loved their coffee machine designs before, a little modern for my taste, but I love the retro look of this one. Great coffee and great style and win win. A treat gift that will keep giving.

6. Thermal Travel Mug, Kate Spade I am getting more into these, especially as I need more and more coffee to function. I love the idea that you can carry it around and keep it warm. Trust Kate Spade to produce such a pretty one. Any lady would love to receive such a beautiful and functional present.

7. Nocturne Cheese Board, Anthropologie I was so impressed when I entered Anthropologie this season, the gift offerings for women I think are amongst the best I have seen. I loved lots and lots in their range. I have picked a few things including this cheese board. What a pretty board to pull out when you are entertaining.

8. Moscow Mule Copper Mug, Target I mentioned earlier that Copper is having a come back and I am seeing these cocktail mugs around everywhere. I thought this price at Target was brilliant and again a great hostess gift or gift for the drink lovers amongst us.

9. Raised Bloom Measuring Cups I am on the lookout for new measuring cups and these are really beautiful. Cooking and baking should be functional but pretty as well. These would be wonderful gift for the baking enthusiast.