Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Sweet Escape

Little yoghurt and orange blossom cakes

The weather; it's always been a talking point no matter where you go. Meet a stranger at a bus stop and strike up a conversation about the weather and you find yourself a mate for life. And I do mean "mate" as in the Aussie idiom and not in that biological sense that results in procreation. But nonetheless, I think that the weather has the efficacy of bringing people together in the same way that food does.

I know in Sydney it has become a bit of a past time to talk about it's wild and wacky ways, especially with its ferociously destructive bent of recent times. The weather has become a little bit of a farce, seeing that we have seen it all in the past couple of months. It's probably been one of the hottest, coldest and wettest summers in history. And, like mine, many Sydneysiders tongues have been sent wagging w
ith all this unprecedented, history-making weather.

Little yoghurt and orange blossom cakes

I stood in a queue at the Post Office and struck up a conversation with one woman about the recent hailstorm and how long it took the SES to come and patch her roof. Then another lady behind us piped in and recounted about how she had to quickly get all her greyhounds inside as their corrugated iron shed was no match for the golf ball sized hail stones. At that point I could feel those warm and fuzzy feelings, that only
usually turn up come Christmas time, well up in my gut. Now this is what community feels like.

And I guess this is where my fondness for food stems from- it's inclination for community. Meals bring people together, food is such a rallying force- and when you get a collection of people gathered together in united mastication, it's a beautiful thing. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's more fun when you get to share the calories around, and what's a few kilojoules between friends?

Little yoghurt and orange blossom cakes

Now here is one dessert that is definitely meant for sharing; the cakes are made individually so there is enough for everyone. And you don't have to feel like you are taking on the Spanish Armada as the cakes are incredibly light and airy. When you think of oranges, you think winter, but when you're in the midst of a cold spell like we are today it's the perfect thing to warm your belly.

Yesterday may have been ice cream and short-shorts weather but just like your luck in Vegas, Sydney-weather can turn just like that. And just like that, it's now back to long-sleeve, scarves and sweet indulgent cakes weather. I guess you can't complain, when you get to sit in front of the television, feet curled up under you with a plate of this. I know right now, I'm not saying a thing.

And if you are hankering for more, then head over to the The Garden of Eating soon and check out the round up of other comforting treats in the 2008 Comfort Food Cook-Off that is sure to weather any cold snap you might be amidst of.

Little yoghurt and orange blossom cakes

Recipe from the Australian Gourmet Traveller

Serves 12

Little yoghurt and orange blossom cakes

300g (2 cups) plain all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

300g vanilla yoghurt

60ml (¼ cup) buttermilk

160g unsalted butter, softened

220g (1 cup) caster sugar

½ tsp finely grated orange rind

4 eggs

100g vanilla Persian fairy floss, to serve (optional)


FOR ORANGE BLOSSSOM ICING

60g unsalted butter, softened

600g icing confectioner’s sugar, sifted

3 tsp orange blossom water (see note)

1½ tbsp vanilla yoghurt


Preheat oven to 160ÂșC.

Grease and line twelve round dariole cake pans (see note).

Sift flour with baking powder and a pinch of salt and set aside.

Whisk yoghurt and buttermilk together in a bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and orange rind until pale and creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating briefly between each addition to combine.
With mixer on low speed, add one-third of the flour and mix to combine, then add one-third of the yoghurt mixture and mix to combine.

Repeat with remaining mixtures, alternating, until incorporated.

Mix just until batter is smooth, then divide evenly among prepared cake pans.

Tap base to level and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted withdraws clean.

Cool completely in pans on a wire rack.

Remove cakes from pans.


FOR ORANGE BLOSSOM ICING
Beat all ingredients and 1½ tbsp water in an electric mixer for 1 minute or until smooth.
Working with one cake at a time and using a hot, wet spatula, ice cakes starting with sides, then top. (If icing becomes difficult to spread, continue to dip spatula in hot water until icing is completely even.)

Set aside and stand for 1 hour or until icing is firm to touch, then serve each cake topped with a little fairy floss (optional).


NOTE: Orange blossom water is available from The Essential Ingredient (www.theessentialingredient.com.au/) and other specialty food stores.

42 comments:

lyndea said...

I wish I could grasp one of them through the glass of my screen;)

Miss Lola said...

wonderful!

eatme_delicious said...

Ooo those do look very comforting and tasty! I love the orange peel on top.

Cheryl said...

That should be like the poster child for Spring. Beautiful colors, moist, just gorgeous. I am convinced you live in the land of sun anyway, cause all your pictures are so bright and lovely.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Oh my. They look Very Good Indeed. I do wish you could ship some out to the UK... Guess I'll just have to make some instead!

Kieran said...

Wow!

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Very interesting recipe and awesome pictures!

Margot

Peabody said...

Gorgeous! I love yogurt cake.

Marianna said...

OMG this is FABULOUS! Beautiful and very tasty looking! I love it and definately think it's worth a try!

Suzana said...

Winter weather is seriously getting on my nerves atm - I could use some comfort with a beautiful cake like that!

Bev said...

Fabulous pictures. The cakes look so moist and the icing so yummy. Wow. I can't wait to try them!

Brilynn said...

I love that they're completely drenched, I'd love one right about now!

I bought orange blossom water to make baklava and I haven't known what to do with it since, I'll have to give these a try!

Katy said...

this post was completely true -- i love that sense of connecting with other people over things that really are universal -- weather and food. but i was so distracted by your beautiful, delicious photos that i had to scroll to the bottom and read the recipe, and then go back up and finish the rest! they look incredible.

JEP said...

Beautiful cakes!

Katie said...

Oh my goodness, that second photo is BLISS. It just looks like it melts in your mouth, yum!

Kevin said...

These look really good all smothered in icing and with orange peel twists on top. Nice photos!

Beth G. said...

Those are stunning- they look SO delicious!!!

karolcia said...

Beautiful pictures and great recipe!!! The cakes look so moist and delicious:)

Bellini Valli said...

There's that fairy floss again. I first heard about it over at Nora's site Lifes Smorgasbord. I have come to the conclusion that it is different flavours of Candy Floss that we get at the fall fair...at least that is what I have been told. These little cakes sure look droolworthy!!!!Bookmarked to try...

Katia said...

the photos are wonderful- the light is amazing. I agree about the weather, it's been crazy here also. This week the temperature was in the 30's, while last week it was 78F! Makes things quite unpredictable.

Muffin said...

Those look really really good. I love lemon yogurt cake, I'm thinking I might just have to try your version!

Hillary said...

Those pictures are so delicious, I could almost taste that dessert. Mmmm I want to try!

kate said...

those look wonderful! i love orange icing. so yummy.

Jerry said...

JenJen you amaze me with every post!

Chuck said...

These cakes look fantabulous! The crumb looks perfect.

Anita said...

I'm dreaming of the sunshine down there...and those cakes!

Marni said...

i want to eat that right now! absolutely beautiful, and yummy!

djou said...

i'm drooling just looking at the pictures... wish i had one ;)

Aklat said...

they look georgeus, I must try them! :)

Sarah said...

The cakes look delicious. Thank-you for posting the recipe!

The weather is crazy all over. Here in Germany it's 13 degrees today! It's supposed to be mid winter!! Crazy.

xox Sarah

VeggieGirl said...

meals definitely DO bring people together - I couldn't have said it better myself!! these orange-blossom cakes are GORGEOUS!!

sol said...

so very beautiful. what kind of pan did you use? they look very tall and elegant.

KarenHarveyCox said...

What a wonderful dessert. Thank you for the recipe. Karen

Jay Cam said...

it was sure hard to read the words with the pictures of those delicious cakes so nearby!
: )

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those cakes look extremely tempting! What mouthwatering treats! Your pictures are gorgeous...

Cheers,

rosa

ReminisceHeirlooms said...

decadent!!!!!!!!!!!!!

singairishgirl said...

I'm sorry, do we fill the bake tins halfway or 2/3 way? That looks decadent. *slurp*

Gloria said...

This looks wonderful!!! Gloria

Anna said...

jen, that looks truly wonderful.
i adore these kinds of cakes and their sweet-sour yoghurt touch.
I WANT ONE!

kellypea said...

These sound and look so tasty. I love the taste of citrus in baked anything...Beautiful!

Cafe Gusto said...

Those looks wonderful.I make this cake as soon as possible.Maybe this weekend..

Cindy said...

I have to buy a kitchen scale to make these, but omg they look nummy!