Sunday, June 28, 2020

Orange, yoghurt & cardamom cake

June 14, 2020


The Lab Farewell Cookbook project is over, but we're still largely at home and I have a weekly baking habit to keep up. Of course I still have abundant cookbooks and bookmarked online recipes to draw from! The orange flavouring and cream cheese icing on this cake caught my eye when I saw it on The Back Yard Lemon Tree a few years ago, although it's originally from Hetty McKinnon's Neighbourhood. (We have another one of McKinnon's excellent books, Community.)

I'm always a fan of cake batters that don't require room temperature butter and electric beaters. But between the melting butter, wet ingredients and dry ingredients here, I did manage to dirty a good number of dishes regardless. I sought a soft, moist cake and so I aimed for the lowest recommended baking time; the cake passed the skewer test then but later revealed itself to be a bit underdone in the centre, with the cake sinking as it cooled. (You'll spot the indentation in all of these photos once you start looking for it!)

That sinking centre proved a challenge with my cream cheese icing later, as the icing was runnier than other cream cheese ones I'm familiar with. I think I'll reduce the orange juice quantity to the bare minimum if I make this again, and rely on some extra orange zest for flavour.


As for the flavour more broadly, it was a lot subtler than I was anticipating from an ingredient list including oranges, orange blossom water and cardamom. I reckon a bit of extra blossom water or cardamom would be a closer match to my preferences. I'll also be tempted to sneak a bit of lemon in; this time around I got the smoothness and sweetness of the cream cheese and oranges, but not the tang I was looking forward to. The one tweak I did attempt on this first batch was a garnish of pepitas (which we have a bucket of) instead of pistachios. They were a pleasant and pragmatic substitute, but not better than pistachios.

For all these tweaks that I'm forecasting, this is a lovely cake. Its texture is quite dense by very silky, no doubt thanks to all the butter and yoghurt involved, and we ate it in large slabs in a matter of days.


Orange, yoghurt & cardamom cake
(a recipe found on The Back Yard Lemon Tree,
where it's credited to Hetty McKinnon's Neighbourhood)

cake
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
250g butter, melted and cooled
1 cup Greek yoghurt
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons orange blossom water

icing
125g cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar
dash of vanilla
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

2 tablespoons pistachios, chopped, to decorate (I used pepitas)


Preheat an oven to 160°C. Line a springform cake tin with paper, and spray it with oil.

In a medium-large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar and cardamom. In a second large bowl, whisk together the remaining cake ingredients, from butter through to orange blossom water. Gradually add the dry ingredients, and stir everything together until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin, and bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, until it passes the skewer test. Allow the cake to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat together the icing ingredients until smooth. (My icing was quite runny, and I'll use less juice in future.) Spread the icing over the cooled cake, and sprinkle it with pistachios.

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