Tag: citrus fruit

Blood Orange and Rosemary Upside Down Cake

Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake

I already had my post written for today’s bright orange Sunday cake, but then, yesterday’s news from the US hit me. It felt so wrong to just write about a recipe, my mood, my day; why should I write about me and my food, when on the other side of the Atlantic, a single man throws everything away that our so called civilized world claims to stand for. How can we, or the president of the United States, ban citizens from certain countries (Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria) from putting their feet onto American ground?

I’m German, my country’s history shows what happens when we tolerate and support the insane actions of a single man. Didn’t we learn anything? Is it still possible for us to allow a man to run a country who doesn’t show the slightest feeling of compassion? Didn’t we, in the western world, hypocrites, arrogantly accuse other countries of exactly that?

Before I was sad, now I’m concerned.

And yes, I baked a cake. It’s an upside down cake – for an upside down world – made with Sicilian blood oranges. It looks like a glowing Mediterranean sunset, peaceful. Some prefer to cut off the citrus fruits’ peel, I leave mine on for a tangy touch. I first sliced and then cooked three fruits in sugar water with a sprig of fresh rosemary to infuse the pulp. About half an hour later they were soft, ready to become the fruity base of a light and fluffy upside down cake, thanks to beaten egg white folded into the batter. The citrus is very present, which I like, the herbal note is subtle. If you prefer you can use less fruits, but I recommend creating a thick juicy layer of orange slices. They keep the cake wonderfully moist and fruity, also on the second day.

Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake

 

Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake

Blood Orange and Rosemary Upside Down Cake

Makes 1 (20 1/2cm / 8″) cake

For the oranges

water 120ml / 1/2 cup
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
organic blood oranges, rinsed, scrubbed, and the ends cut off, 3
medium sprig of rosemary 1, plus a few needles finely chopped (optional)

For the dough

plain flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
baking powder 2 teaspoons
butter, at room temperature, 80g / 1/3 cup
granulated sugar 150g / 3/4 cup
organic eggs, separated, 2
vanilla pod, split and scraped, 1/2
milk 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Butter and line a 20 1/2cm / 8″springform pan.

For the oranges, in a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium high heat. Stir and let the sugar dissolve. Cut the oranges into thin slices. Reduce the heat to medium, layer the orange slices in the sugar water, and simmer gently for about 25-30 minutes or until soft, but still in shape. Using a slotted ladle, transfer the orange slices to a large plate and let them cool for a few minutes. Add the rosemary to the pot with the orange syrup and set aside.

For the dough, in a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla seeds and continue mixing for about 1 minute or until well combined. Quickly beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk. Beat the egg white and salt until soft peaks form and fold into the dough.

Arrange the orange slices on the bottom and sides of the prepared pan, fold some of the slices into the corners (see 2nd picture). Scrape the dough on top of the fruits, even it out and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and spongy. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for a few minutes before you flip it over, gently remove the parchment paper.

Bring the rosemary orange syrup to a boil over high heat and let it cook for about 2 minutes, let it cool for a couple minutes. Brush the top of the cake with the syrup and arrange the rosemary sprig on top. Sprinkle with a little additional chopped rosemary and enjoy!

Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake

 

Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake

 

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Clementine and Saffron Cake

Clementine and Saffron Cake

In the past few days, my oven hardly stopped working – I baked, and baked, and baked. I wanted to give some recipes from my book a final test run, which meant we ended up with three cakes, a bowl of cookies, and a huge pot of soup on the table. We couldn’t cope, so a bunch of friends came over yesterday – my happy helpers when there’s more food in my kitchen than two people can possibly eat. We started with mulled wine in the late afternoon, had an extensive cake and cookie tasting session, enjoyed the soup to balance our sugar shock, and finished the night with even more mulled wine. The dishes were all received with great enthusiasm (and with different favourites, which is fantastic), and this morning I woke up without a headache. It’s a good weekend!

Before I jumped into my test baking, I put a new creation in my oven, a fragrant clementine and saffron loaf cake inspired by Marilena’s Milk Pan di Campobasso – a traditional cake from the Molise region, in Italy. Marilena’s cake is infused with saffron threads and Strega liqueur (an Italian saffron spirit), and covered with a crunchy hazelnut chocolate icing. It was the first time that I used this sumptuous spice for sweets and I learned that it’s absolutely delicious when used moderately. It’s been almost two years since I mixed saffron into a cake batter so I thought it’s time to take it out of the spice box again. I added the sweet juices of clementines, a little zest, and some buttermilk, and turned it into a juicy teatime cake.

Clementine and Saffron Cake

 

Clementine and Saffron Cake

Clementine and Saffron Cake

For a 24cm x 10,5cm / 9.5″ x 4″  loaf tin you need

buttermilk 90ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
saffron threads 1/3 teaspoon
plain flour 210g / 1  2/3 cups
cornstarch 70g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon
baking powder 3 teaspoons
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter, soft, 180g / 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 180g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
organic eggs 3
freshly grated clementine zest 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed clementine juice 3 tablespoons

For the clementine syrup

icing sugar 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed clementine juice 3 tablespoons

For the topping

freshly grated clementine zest

Set the oven to 160°C / 320°F (preferably convection setting) and butter a 24 x 10 1/2-cm / 9 1/2 x 4-inch loaf pan.

In a small bowl, add the buttermilk and saffron and stir to combine.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, add the sugar and continue mixing until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between. When the mixture is light and creamy mix in the zest and juice. Fold in the flour-cornstarch mixture with a wooden spoon in batches, alternating with the saffron-buttermilk (about 1/3 of each at a time). Pour the dough into the buttered pan and bake for about 52 minutes or until golden on top (slightly longer if using a conventional oven). Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes before you transfer it to a wire rack.

For the syrup, whisk the icing sugar and clementine juice until combined. Prick the warm cake. Slowly pour the clementine syrup over the cake, sprinkle with a little clementine zest, and enjoy!

Clementine and Saffron Cake

 

Clementine and Saffron Cake

 

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