Cardamom and rose scent the house as this week's cake takes form. Travelling east for inspiration using semolina instead of flour, I have added sweetness and texture with Turkey Figs and almonds. Baked into a dome, dusted with gold and topped with crystallised rose petals and gilded almonds, we move the cake again out of the ordinary further east to a Kubla Khan 'Pleasure Dome'.
|Sparkling in artificial light|
OK, maybe the last bit is OTT but that's my source of inspiration this week. Who doesn't love the look of dome cakes; steamed treacle puddings, jam sponges and chocolate castles with rivulets of sauce running down the side? To put this into an English afternoon or American coffee cake style that would keep, I used a subtle rose syrup poured over the cooling cake. However, lovely as it looked undecorated, I wanted to take it to the level of a special occasion cake ; two shades of gold powder are simply dusted over the edges and sparkling roses and almonds crown the centre .
|Further Inspiration - images courtesy of |
|Click to enlarge and see the texture in detail|
Soft semolina and ground almond cake; holding figs and flaked almonds, gently scented with cardamom and encased in a sparkling rose glaze. It is possible to increase the amount of cardamom and rose to serve with coffee. The amounts here go pleasantly with Traditional English Afternoon Tea or Earl Grey.
One of the pleasures of this cake was the simplicity and effectiveness of the gold powder as a decoration. It made a refreshing change to have a light sweetness added with a glaze, without dressing the cake in layers of marzipan and royal icing, yet still producing a 'centrepiece' cake.
Text Only Printable Recipe
5oz (140g) Caster sugar
5fl oz (150 ml) Water
2 tbsp Rose water or as much as 100ml, I use lesser amounts for UK palates
Golden almonds: made from 2 tbsp almonds toasted in a pan with 1 tsp butter and gold sugarcraft powder
Crystallised rose petals
Grease 1L Pyrex bowl or similar
Grind the seeds of the cardamom pods and infuse in 5 tbsp of warm milk for 10 mins.
|Partially rehydrated dried figs - superior dried figs - worth sourcing from Waitrose|
Make the syrup while the cake is cooking. Add the sugar, water and rose water together and warm until sugar is dissolved. Heat and boil for three minutes.
Check after 20 minutes adjust temperature as required. Check the oven is not too hot, the cake cooks for at least an hour until a skewer comes cleanly out. Allow to cool for at least 5 mins and ease from bowl.
Place on a wire rack over a shallow bowl. Prick cake over and pour warm syrup over. Brush over sides as necessary. This is more of a glaze than the traditional eastern syrup steeping method but the recipe could be adapted for that purpose on a thinner depth of cake.
Toast flaked almonds in butter and add gold powder. Dry on kitchen paper. Add central decoration of crystallised roses and the gold almonds in crown shape. Dust sides with golden sugarcraft powder. Enjoy being inspired!
|Waiting on a Sunny Windowsill for Afternoon Tea|