Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Orange and rosemary cake and hoping for the best

Orange and rosemary cake / Bolo de laranja e alecrim

Much is said about small joys in life, but today I got myself thinking also about small hopes: things we do hoping for the day (or the week, or the month) to be better.

I entered a shop earlier on today searching for a product that would make my hair shinier and softer without making it greasy (those of you who have oily hair like I do know what I’m talking about). I know it might sound silly or even vain, but that small gesture was done in order to make my day a bit sweeter – when you spend months searching for a new job without any success it is the small things that keep you going, combined with the support from your loved ones. It is putting a pair of comfy socks on a cold day, discovering a great TV show, singing in the shower, making a delicious meal out of whatever is left in the fridge or taking a beautiful cake out of the oven – on those days when frustration gets the best of me I avoid anything else that can disappoint me: those are the days for tried and true recipes, when you need a success to lift the spirit, not the days to try something new that can look (or taste) weird.

On one of those blue days I made my current favorite cake, the moist and delicious recipe by Nigel Slater, but swapped the lemon and thyme for orange and rosemary (I told you I would try to be braver when it comes to rosemary, right?). The flavor combo worked beautifully in cake form as it did in the cookies and the day was saved.

Orange and rosemary cake
slightly adapted from the always fantastic Nigel Slater

100g all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
100g almond meal
2 teaspoons rosemary leaves, packed
200g granulated sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened
finely grated zest of 2 medium oranges
4 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
juice of the 2 oranges used in the cake batter
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, packed

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 900g/2lb loaf pan, line it with baking paper and butter the paper as well.
Cake: in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then stir in the almond meal. Set aside. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the rosemary leaves with some of the sugar until the leaves are finely ground and the sugar turns green and perfumed. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, the rosemary sugar, remaining sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, gradually mix in the dry ingredients.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

When the cake is almost baked, make the syrup: in a small saucepan, combine the sugar and orange juice. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, add the rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat (fish out the rosemary right before pouring the syrup over the cake).

As soon as the cake is out of the oven, prick it all over with a toothpick or skewer and gradually pour the syrup, waiting for the cake to absorb it. Cool completely before unmolding and serving.

Serves 6-8


Janice @ Kitchen Heals Soul said...

Wow! THe texture of this cake looks perfect! I love cakes soaked in syrup.
I really hope your job hunt works out very soon. It's such a frustrating and demoralizing process at times, but I'm sure you will find something great in the end.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Dear Janice, thank you for your kind words! I appreciate it. xx

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