By the time you read this, I'll be up in the air on my way to Valencia for a short break with Monsieur. The last few days have been super busy with some very early mornings, late evenings (and I'm not talking about parties here either), masses of photos to edit and things to put together and sort out. Phew. No time to bake this week and I missed it! However, I did bake this last weekend. A poppy seed and orange cake which is a little different from what you might expect as it is based heavily on a German or Austrian poppy seed cake. The poppy seeds do take centre stage here and can really be tasted. This cake is moist, heavier than a sponge, and very, very nutty in taste.
Whilst cake can probably never really be called healthy, this one is gluten free and refined sugar free (something I have been experimenting with lately), so at least it's not quite as guilt-trip inducing as a lot of other baked goods. The only thing I will say is that it is not as sweet as for example a more commonly know poppy seed and lemon sponge cake. Not using refined sugar does make a difference in the taste, one that I don't mind, but if you really do like your cakes very sweet, then you will have to replace the rice syrup with caster sugar, so I have put those measurements in for you too. If this is your thing, read on.
Also, if you do like your food and you're in London on the 20/21st November, you might be interested in what I have to say at the very bottom of this post...
For this cake you will need the following ingredients:
- 200g poppy seeds
- 200g ground almonds
- 200g butter at room temperature
- 5 eggs
- 150ml + 60ml rice syrup (alternatively 130g + 50g sugar)
- 2tsp orange extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- extra butter and ground almonds for the spring form
For the topping:
- 5tbsp thick cream
- 300g mascarpone
- 90ml rice syrup (80g sugar)
- 1tsp Cointreau
- zest of one orange
And here's how it's done:
- Preheat your oven to 180C, grease the spring form and dust with ground almonds
- Separate the eggs and beat the whites with the salt until stiff peaks form
- Add the 150ml of rice syrup and beat until smooth. Now, the eggs will collapse, but I have baked the cake twice and it still works, so don't worry
- In a separate bowl, mix the butter and the 60ml of rice syrup until smooth.
- Add the egg yolks and mix, then the orange extract.
- Using a paddle attachment for your mixer, mix in the ground almonds and then the poppy seeds.
- Now fold in the egg whites
- Pour the mixture into the prepared spring form and bake for about 50 minutes
- When taking the cake out and lightly pressing on it with your finger, you should hear a "spongy" sound
- Take the cake out and leave to cool
- To make the topping beat the thick cream until stiff
- Mix in the mascarpone and then the rice syrup
- Add the Cointreau and the orange zest
- Top the cooled cake with the mix
- You can of course eat it immediately, but I found that it actually tasted better the next day
!!! Important Update !!!
I've been told that grinding the poppy seeds will prevent them from going bitter. I didn't find the cake bitter, but it might be useful advice. I'm not a chef, I just like good food, so I'm always happy to learn more.
And now the foodies' announcement: Taste of London Winter takes place again at the Tobacco Docks here in London from 20th until the 23rd November. There will be a whole host of exhibitors, fab chefs (Michel Roux Jnr, hello!!!) and demonstrations on offer and everything to keep a foodie's heart happy. Here's the good part: I have kindly been offered a pair of tickets to give away for Thursday evening (20th) or Friday lunchtime (21st) to one of you! All you need to do is leave a comment and a winner will be picked at random on Thursday the 13th. Good luck!