Retro-cool and a touch of nostalgia

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There’s something about seed cakes that seem infinitely old-fashioned and comforting to me, especially one cake combination that has stood the test of time and continues to appear in it’s cool kitschy cute way in many a cookbook – that being the orange and poppy seed cake.

This recipe comes from a tiny little recipe book that has been in the family possibly almost as long as I’ve been in Australia, my mother having purchased it in the grocery store when I was just a wee tyke. Never having had an oven before, she was entirely new to the world of baking, and the only recipe she ever tried was for the classic cream sponge, in an attempt to replicate the fresh fruit & cream sponge cakes that are popular in Korea as birthday cakes. This was also the very first book that I baked from, I still remember being all of about 9 or 10 years old and having made my very first cake all by myself from this book, so it has a great deal of sentimental value to me.

The cake itself…well, it’s certainly not the most amazing cake in the world, but I think therein lies its charm – it’s simple and homely and has a bit of an old-fashioned appeal to its appearance. Not particularly moist (though not dry), it’s quite dense in texture but manages a light and fluffy crumb and its delicate orange flavour makes it smell and taste terrific, especially when paired with a mug of earl gray tea.

Sorry for the lack of words and postage but I’m still struggling on the creativity front, and apologies to those of you hanging out for more Asian/Korean recipes – I’ve got a few in the works, and I promise that the japchae recipe will be the next I do! Be warned, it’ll be a wordy one ;)

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Orange Poppy Seed Cake
(adapted from Family Circle Classic Essentials – Cakes)

Ingredients
1/2 cup poppy seeds
2/3 orange juice
185g unsalted butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tsp finely grated orange zest (or 2 tsp pure orange extract)
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Buttercream
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
150g unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper and set aside.

2. Pour orange juice over poppy seeds in a small bowl. Using electric beaters, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, then gradually incorporate eggs till well combined. Beat in the rind.

3. Sift the flours together, then use a metal spoon to fold in the flour into the creamed butter alternately with the orange juice & poppy seed mixture till just combined, then spoon into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface.

4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or till a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the buttercream – combine the orange juice and sugar in a small pan and stir over medium heat (without boiling) till the sugar has dissolved. Add the rind and bring to a simmer and leave for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and use tongs to remove the zest and place it on a wire rack to dry. Cream the butter, then slowly add the cooled syrup while beating till the mixture is light and fluffy. Spread over the top of the cooled cake and decorate with the boiled zest.

This isn’t the moistest cake in the world, but despite it’s denseness it is quite light and very soft, and perfect with a mug of earl gray tea :)

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[tags]baking, recipes, cake, orange, poppyseed, dessert[/tags]

Comments

  1. 2/3 CUP orange juice, right?
    Going to try it…

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