For an afternoon tea yesterday, I seized the opportunity to bake. The first few months on Weight Watchers I missed baking so much, but special occassions are the perfect chance to head back into those waters.

At Christmas, Dr K gave Sean and I a cook book from a beloved TV show, Food Safari. If you don’t know it or don’t live here, it’s a gorgeous half hour program that’s part cooking, part cultural exploration. Each episode sees the host, Maeve O’Mara take us around the world without leaving Australian shores. She speaks to chefs and home cooks who speak passionately about their own heritage through food and glimpses into their lives. It’s just wonderful and finally, there is a book with highlights from the show.

I made a Greek salad on the weekend which was fantastic but the real treat was the Jewish Almond and Orange cake, recipe and short clip from the show here.

almond cakeI managed to save a little of the cake for photos, and for Sean.

The amazing thing about this cake, which is described as ‘a classic Passover dessert drawing on the Sephardic traditions of Morocco, the Mediterranean and the Middle East (where citrus was more available)’ is that you boil two oranges whole for two hours, allow to cool, then puree the lot before adding them to a simple mixture of eggs, sugar, almond meal and baking powder. Nothing could be simpler. I did the oranges the day before and whipped up the cake in the morning on Sunday. As someone who doesn’t ever eat oranges, I am pleased to say it’s all about flavour and moisture and not a bit about feeling like you’re eating pith or skin or any of the other nasty orange attributes.

It’s dense without being heavy, rich without being over the top and best of all, no flour or butter, so it’s the ultimate gluten-free cake, if that’s an issue for you. I loved this cake so much! An instant new standard for me, I believe.

It’s not possible to let a post on cake go without showing you this.


yarn cakeA Yarn Cake

The afternoon tea was for a knitter called Kirsty, who has a lovely and devoted foodie partner called Chris and amongst his many fine contributions to the feast was this cake! A yarn cake! Each ball of yarn is a small cake itself, set atop a dense, rich fruit cake encased in a marzipan basket – I was wrong. A fondant basket! Needles for the finishing touch.

Any bloke who makes a cake like that is a keeper, Β yes?



34 thoughts on “Cake!

  1. Pingback: Jewish Orange and Almond Cake « Delly and Bells Go on a Food Safari

  2. ahh, Food Safari is one of my faves too – Maeve O’Meara is just so refreshingly down-to-earth and interesting, isn’t she?

    The Jewish cake looks divine, one can almost smell the fragrant orange coming off the screen!

    and that knitting cake is just a piece of mastery, ain’t it?!

  3. Oh yum! The orange cake sounds wonderful – I love the show and will have to keep a look out for the book.

    As for Chris, a definite keeper! What a fabulous cake.

  4. I was given the Food Safari dvd’s for Christmas and haven’t gotten up to this bit yet, I am hoping it will be there now especially! Have heard of the whole orange cake before but haven’t had the guts to try it. Sounds like I’ll be joining a whole lot of people in trying it out now!

  5. This is very similar to ‘Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern Orange Cake’ as reproduced in Stephanie Alexander’s ‘the cook’s companion’. A friend of mine finishes it with chocolate ganache, but as I don’t like the orange-chocolate combination, my preference is to serve it with either sliced blood oranges or peaches (depending on the season) and creme fraiche or yoghurt. Yum, my mouth’s watering just thinking of it!

  6. The orange and almond meal cake is one of my faves too and having sampled the actual one in the picture I can attest that Bells does a superb job of it.

    Re some of the other comments, yes it does go well with chocolate, either 3 big tablespoons of cocoa in the recipe or melt 100g to 200g of good dark chocolate and mix that in. Yeah Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cake LOL.

    Tip for the oranges, if you use navel oranges they don’t have any pips! Although when you blitz it all up the pips don’t really make much difference anyway. I’ve done it with mandarins and it works great. And with blood oranges hoping for a great colour but the colour comes out exactly the same as in the picture. Also tried lemons but not so good. But I reckon kumquats would work really well if you use the ones that don’t have pips. And nuts and dried fruit in the choccy version works well too.

    And I’ve also iced it with a ganache made of double cream and Lindt Orange Intense Chocolate. That’s the one with slivers of almonds and candied orange peel in it and it gives the ganache a wonderful knobbly texture.

  7. I’ve made orange and almond cake a few times recently,and we love it! We’ve had it for afternoon tea with a little plain yoghurt, and heated a little for dessert with icecream.

    The great thing about it is it tastes even better the day after it’s cooked than on the day πŸ™‚

  8. My mouth is watering over the orange cake. I’ve never seen a recipe like this, but as I have several relatives that are gluten intolerant, this is perfect. Now all I have to do is figure out where to find almond meal. I googled caster sugar to find out my equivalent is “superfine” sugar. And icing sugar is powdered sugar. And the recipe had a very convenient conversion chart for metric to oz (although I’m really trying to learn metric, because the American system honestly makes no sense — as an American, am I allowed to admit that?). πŸ™‚ Thanks for another wonderful post with truly mouth-watering pictures. I’ve GOT to get my camera figured out! πŸ™‚

  9. oh wow, firstly huge fan of food safari! I remember after watching the croatian one we realised one of the restaurants featured was in our suburb and had a beautiful meal out! great show and such interesting people, what a great and thoughtful present.

    and your cake looks so yum, even my hubby walked past and just went yum! I must try that recipe, your photo definitely shows how moist and rich it looks.

    and cute yarn cake too! who wouldn’t want that cute cake


  10. I can’t make the link to the cake work. Our connection is too slow at the moment (they’re coming tomorrow to look at it). I love orange! That’s recipe for me. I was just wondering, do you peel the oranges first?

    • Nope. You puree them whole. After two hours of being cooked in simmering water, they are soft and mushy. The whole lot goes in. Skin, pith, seeds and all. I just removed the little woody end from each of them!

  11. Having been at the afternoon tea, I can attest that the orange cake is STUNNINGLY delicious!!

    Kirsty’s partner not only bakes amazing cakes, and makes his own smoked salmon, jams, and other foodie treats, BUT he also knits. Yup, he’s a keeper!

  12. your cake looks superb! it sounds like a recipe i’ve made from an old claudia roden book – must make it again soon. i’ve also made it with mandarins, i just cut them in half after they’re cooked to pick out the seeds before processing.

    and that yarn cake is just fabulous! what a great partner to not only tolerate your friends knitting, but celebrate it in such a special way!

  13. I love FS too, Maeve is a wonderful host and I love her enthusiasm for tasting all the new food!! Your cake looks wonderful, though I can’t eat oranges and I don’t think lemons would do the trick. Oh a cake of balls of wool. Definitely a keeper!!!

  14. I could eat that cake!!! Any cake without wheat in it is a hero! And it does look delicious. As for that yarn cake… brilliant!

  15. This is a great cake! I have made it before (not from this book, from another book I have) – but same dealio, boil the oranges for 2 hours and then moosh in the food processor and mix with everything else – it is a most excellent moist orangey cake – and I never eat oranges either!! Now I want to make it again! (but of course have no oranges in my house!). Oh, imagine how nice it would be with chocolate ganache icing. Just like a Terry’s chocolate orange, but in a cake!

    Yarn cake – excellent!!

  16. i love this book almost as much as i loved the show. everything ive made it from so far is perfect! and now i am sooo going to make this cake, which looks superb!! yummo! not sure about all that marzipan but the yarn cake is pretty spectacular too.

  17. Amazing Bells! The cake looks so easy to make. i was wondering about using an orange that has lots of pips. If you blend them up straight from boiling them how would you know? Perhaps it doesn’t matter. once they have been boiling for 2 hours everything is mushy anyway.

    I love the simplicity of this cake. I am absolutely trying it. After I make my cake with my new bundt tin of course!!

    Love the yarn cake too. That man is a gem!

  18. Wow, Bells, boiling whole oranges for two days! Definitely going to have to give this a try…thanks for the link. Haven’t heard of Food Safari before…when/where is it on, do you know?

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