Sadly, there’s no photo of the finished product this time…it was one of those days where I was baking said cake for an evening event, and of course, I was baking it last minute – mostly because that way it’s fresh. Any photographers out there, or actually anyone who’s the slightest bit familiar with taking even the most basic of photos will know how very unhelpful evening light can be. Maybe in some instances evening light is nice because it’s romantic or something (can you tell that I’m unconvinced?). But not when food is involved!
I like my photos to be bright and realistic. It’s really hard to take a bright and realistic photo of food in the evening. Even with “good lighting” it’s tough. Although, to be honest, I’m certainly not a brilliant photographer, and although I know a bit and I even studied photography at high school (yes it was good for something), I certainly don’t understand the full complexities of a camera. So, I’m sure this isn’t an issue for better photographers, but right now, it’s an issue for me. And I don’t even have a light box (slash, haven’t been bothered to buy one…).
So on a cold Melbourne evening, I made a beautiful cake. But there are no photos to be had because it was evening and I’m a mediocre photographer who hasn’t bought a light box yet.
But now to more cheery things, like eating cake! I occasionally get creative with cake flavours; most of the time I just don’t have the freedom or time to experiment because I’m baking by commission and often that just means I need to make something quickly and/or have no control over what the thing is that I’m baking. So it’s quite exciting when I have the time, brain space and freedom to be creative!
In the past two years I’ve been experimenting with Middle Eastern flavours such as rose water, pomegranate and orange blossom! This is mostly because I discovered a great Middle Eastern deli nearby! However, experimenting is the key word here. I’ve thought quite a bit about flavour combinations and I think I’m pretty happy with how it’s all turned out so far, but I think I’ve been fairly cautious so far with my Strawberry and Rosewater Cake, and my Rhubarb and Rosewater Cake. But I can now add Orange Blossom cake to the list, and hopefully will keep expanding my baking horizons with more and more experimenting. We shall have to wait and see.
Orange Blossom Cake
125g butter, softened
zest of 1 orange
275g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
1-2 tablespoons orange blossom water, to taste
- Preheat oven to 160C fan-forced and line a 20cm or 22cm round tin (springform is always a bonus) with baking paper.
- Cream butter, zest and sugar, until the mixture is light in colour and well combined. This could take a few minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, with some flour if it begins to curdle or separate.
- Stir in the flour, milk and the lemon juice alternately until well combined.
- Pour into the pan and bake for 40-50 minutes.
- You’ll know the cake is cooked when it has pulled away from the tin slightly and is firm to the touch. Pull cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack until it has reached room temperature.
Candied Orange Ingredients
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Candied Orange Method
- Wash the oranges to get rid of any residue and slice thinly.
- Heat water and sugar over low heat in a large saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring.
- Bring the syrup to a slow boil by increasing the heat then add the orange slices. Cook for 15 minutes, then flip the slices and reduce the heat to low.
- If you want soft orange slices, cook for another 10 minutes or so and remove the slices when you’re happy with how they look and leave them to cool.
- If you want sticky, rock-candy style orange slices then increase the heat and cook for another 15 minutes or until the syrup has thickened and the orange rind has become translucent and sticky – make sure you keep an eye on this, because it will burn very easily!
Storage: This cake can be kept in the pantry for about 48 hours. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, but be aware that refrigeration alters the texture of the cake. If so desired, the cake can be reheated in individual pieces in the microwave to restore freshness.
Best served…fresh and warm with lots of double cream!