Bringing real baking into your home with deliciously simple recipes.
Prep 45min (+30min cooling time per batch)Bake 45minMakes 12-14 serves
This pretty cake, with its heavenly orange blossom-scented frosting, is currently one of my favourite 'special occasion' cakes – particularly for birthday celebrations. The cake layers are baked in two batches but if you are lucky enough to have four cake pans that can fit in your oven all at once, feel free to make the mixture in one lot and bake them all together.
Orange blossom water buttercream 250g butter, at room temperature 375g (3 cups) icing sugar, sifted 3-4 teaspoons orange blossom water (or to taste)
To make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease two shallow 20cm (base measurement) round cake tins with melted butter and line the bases with rounds of non-stick baking paper.
Finely grate the rind from the oranges and set aside. Juice the fruit and measure 125ml (½ cup), reserving the rest for another use. Divide the juice evenly between two medium bowls. Add half the poppy seeds and half the sour cream to each. Set aside.
Use an electric mixer to beat 125g of the butter, 150g of the sugar and half the orange rind until pale and creamy. Add 2 of the eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Sift together 175g of the flour and 1½ teaspoon of the baking powder. Fold half the flour mixture through the butter mixture until just combined. Fold through one quantity of the poppy seed mixture and then the remaining flour mixture until just combined.
Divide the cake mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surfaces. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes come out clean. Stand in the tins for 5 minutes before turning onto wire racks, topside down, to cool (this will take about 30 minutes).
Repeat with the remaining poppy seed mixture and ingredients to make two more cake layers.
Meanwhile, to make the candied orange rind, use a vegetable peeler to remove the rind from the oranges in wide strips. Use a small sharp knife to remove any white pith from the rind. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange rind strips and bring to a simmer. Simmer, without stirring, for 10-15 minutes or until the rind is translucent. Use a fork to transfer the rind from the syrup to a wire rack. Set aside. Reserve the syrup.
To make the orange blossom water buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, icing sugar and orange blossom water in a medium bowl until very pale and creamy. Cover and set aside at room temperature.
To assemble the cake, place a cake layer, topside down, on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread with a little of the buttercream and then top with another layer of cake. Continue to layer with some of the remaining buttercream and cake layers, finishing with a cake layer. Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the outside of the cake so that the cake layers show through. Spread the remaining buttercream on top, swirling as desired. Decorate with the candied orange rind and drizzle with some of the remaining syrup just before serving.
This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
These "very Moroccan" cookies are dead-easy to make, but still special with the addition of orange flower water. They have a crisp macaroon-like character that softens and becomes chewy the longer they're kept.
240g (1½ cups) blanched almonds, plus 30 extra to decorate (optional) 125g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, plus 2 tablespoons extra to coat 1 teaspoon baking powder 3 egg yolks 2 teaspoons orange flower water
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line two large oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
Spread the almonds on one of the baking trays and toast in preheated oven, shaking the tray occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden and aromatic. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Use a food processor to process the almonds until finely ground. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
Sift together the icing sugar and baking powder over the almond meal. Add the egg yolks and orange flower water and use an electric mixer to beat until well combined and a soft dough forms. Roll heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Roll in the extra icing sugar to coat lightly and then place on the lined oven trays about 5cm apart. Flatten the balls until about 1cm thick and then press a whole extra almond into the center of each, if desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, swapping the trays around halfway through baking, or until lightly golden around the edges and cracked on top. Remove from the oven and cool on the trays.
These ghoribas will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
For a slightly soft centre bake these biscuits for only 16 minutes.