Sydney has put on quite the show lately. Stunningly beautiful days have been in abundance. Those sorts of days when you wake up to sunshine pouring in through the gaps between the blinds and the window frames. An impatient sort of sunshine that wants to wake you up so that it can show off its brilliance to you.
Then you look outside and the sky is a seemingly impossible shade of blue, clear and unbroken.
Or better yet, the expanse of azzure is occasionally interrupted by the perfectly pillowy cloud. Sweet little puffs of white that have no intention of doing anything silly like raining down on the perfect earth.
Why then, did I feel the urge to bake what would possibly be considered a wintery cake? Was it that I saw it in Sunday Life Magazine and couldn’t take my mind off it? Or maybe because when I was sorting out the paper for recycling, I stumbled across that very same issue and just so happened to open it right to that very page? Or perhaps because I thought of a way to involve oranges, which surely are the closest thing there is to liquid sunshine?
This is no delicate creation, this cake. It has a moist, dense crumb that says I am cake, hear me roar! It holds its own, almost unapologetically and would be able to support a nice, thick layer of icing if you felt that way inclined.
I went for an orange and cardamom syrup instead. Orange and cardamom, they are old buddies. Tiny little fragrant cardamom makes an impact on big bumbling orange like no other.
So enjoy the sunshine, and for those of you who don’t have any, perhaps this cake will help?
Oh, and Happy Easter!
Orange and Almond Yoghurt Cake with Orange and Cardamom Syrup
Cake modified slightly from Bill Granger’s recipe in Sunday Life, March 10 2013
Syrup modified from The Patterned Plate
1 1/2- 2 cups caster sugar
1 1/2 cups full-fat greek yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 oranges, finely grated
2 cups plain flour
1 cup almond meal
3 tsp baking powder
For the syrup & topping:
Juice of 2 oranges
1 cup icing sugar
The insides of 6 cardamom pods, ground to a coarse powder
1/3 cup flaked almonds, lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 170 C. Grease and flour a 20cm square baking tin.
Whisk the eggs and caster sugar in a large bowl with an electric beater until thick and well blended (or if you are lucky enough to have a stand mixer, you can use that and know that I’m incredibly jealous).
In a seperate bowl, combine the yoghurt, vanilla and orange zest. Fold gently into the egg mixture. In another bowl, sift the flour, almond meal and baking powder and combine. Add bit by bit to the wet ingredients and fold through gently. Try to add the dry ingredients around the sides of the mixture rather than right into the middle to preserve the lightness of the batter.
Pour into the cake tin and place in the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 35-40 mins or until a knife or skewer passed into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, combine the sugar, orange juice and cardamom in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then allow to boil on low heat for 3 or 4 mins.
When the cake is baked, pierce it all over the top with a fork. When the cake is still hot and in the tin, pour the syrup evenly over the top and sides of it. Allow the cake to cool in the tin and absorb the syrup. Sprinkle flaked almonds over the top.
Serve alongside tea or warmed with a dollop of cream or ice-cream (or both).