I love this time of year in England. The temperamental weather flicking between hints of summer and showers of rain and the first few flowers showing their heads. It’s a constant reminder that summer is nearly here, but not quite.
Whilst we don’t have a garden we’re lucky where we live that there are 5 parks within a 5 minute walk of our front door, so over the last few years I have been stockpiling picnic equipment for those days when staying indoors is a crime (seen here and here).
A few weeks ago we had the first day of sun this year, the first day that heavy coats could be left at home and sunglasses could be pulled out of storage. This cake had been cooling on the side (minus a few slices that had been eaten hot out of the oven, burning our fingers and mouths in the process) coupled with a thermos full of tea made for the perfect impromptu outing.
The yoghurt in the cake makes it so moist and delicate it will leave you craving a second (or third… or fourth) slice. The syrup gives it a sharp sweet kick, whilst the cardamom creates a warmth in the background. It’s the perfect cake for spring as it’s a mixture of wintery spice and summery citrus, just like the current weather.
Blood Orange and Cardamom Cake
based on a recipe from Cake Days
makes 1 loaf
for the sponge:
190g unsalted butter plus extra for greasing
190g plain flour plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp finely grated blood orange zest
190g caster sugar
3 large eggs
60g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
25g plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
6 cardamom pods – seeds ground
for the glaze:
juice of 1 blood orange
50g caster sugar.
Preheat the oven to 170C, then butter and line a 2lb bread tin
Cream together the butter, zest and sugar till pale.
In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients.
Whisk a tablespoon of the dry mixture into the butter and sugar, then slowly incorporate the eggs.
Add the dry ingredients to the mix in two stages then beat in the yoghurt and vanilla essence.
Pour into the tin, and bake in the middle of the oven for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
When the cake is nearly completely baked, heat the orange juice and sugar in a pan until the sugar dissolves.
Remove the cake from the oven and repeatedly prick with a cocktail stick until it’s covered in little holes.
Slowly pour the syrup over the cake, trying to get an even coverage.