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 …
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.
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.
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
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.
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