orange and lavender cake
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Pound cake – or quatre-quarts as I prefer to call it, as it more aptly reflects the proportions of the ingredients – is one of the easiest cakes to bake. Four quarters: there are only four basic ingredients and they are mixed together in equal parts. Once a couple of years ago I only just came back from holidays, having driven across half of France and around the M25 (the latter much worse than the former) and thought I could quickly whip up some breakfastey cake thing, as we are lovers of plain cake for breakfast in my house. Hey presto: just bring the butter out of the fridge for half an hour so it comes to the room temperature, have some eggs – how many you have will determine the size of the cake – flour and sugar and we’re in business.
Great stuff: weigh out your eggs and then use the same quantities of the remaining three ingredients. Add raisins, add flavouring, add nothing and slice it in half when baked and slather the halves in jam, stir in some cocoa – basically it is the most wonderful cake base or a cake in its own right.
I saw this recipe in The Times on a Saturday a few weeks ago and immediately beamed inside thinking of the great combination of orange and a strong unusual flavour of lavender. It works well. With hindsight, I might have ground the dried lavender to a powder as chewing through the dried flowers isn’t that pleasant – but it’s certainly worth a try. The recipe’s authors are Konditor and Cook – the famous German patissiers.
orange and lavender cake
- Weigh out the eggs and use the same weight of butter, flour and sugar. This cake was made with 3 extra large eggs but the amounts are indicative – the four ingredients need to be used in equal proportions.
- For the cake:
- 3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
- 220g butter, softened
- 220g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 220g caster sugar
- zest grated from 2 large oranges
- For the crunchy topping:
- juice of one large orange
- 200g caster sugar
- 2 tsp dried lavender
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Butter and flour, or line with parchment a large loaf tin.
Sift the flour with baking powder into a bowl. Beat the butter with the sugar and the orange zest until light and fluffy. Add a quarter of the beaten eggs with a tablespoon of flour and continue beating. Repeat until the eggs are used up, then add the rest of the flour and beat in at the lowest speed of your mixer, until combined.
Spoon the cake mix into a tin and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin for about an hour, then turn out onto a wire rack.
For the topping, mix all the ingredients into a spreadable paste and spread over the top of the cooled cake, letting it run down the sides.