Sunday, April 15, 2012

Orange Blossom Tea Cake with Grapes and Olive Oil

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...My palate favors barely sweet European-style pastries, so, when I saw this recipe on the blog, Just A Smidgen, I knew I had to give it a try. I already have several recipes for grape cakes and, collectively,  they've all claimed places on my list of family favorites. While these cakes are delicious, they are probably not meant for mass consumption. If you take a quick glance at the ingredient's list, the quantity of olive oil that's used in this recipe is an indicator of just how different this cake truly is. It also calls for another strong and flavorful ingredient called orange blossom water. Most of you will not be able to find it in your local markets, but it is available on-line and this article will do a great job of explaining just what it is. It is difficult to find a workable substitute, but, in a pinch,  a 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice will come close enough. I love the way French and North African flavors are combined in this recipe. The cake is boldly flavored, but remains sweet enough to serve for dessert or tea. Those with more sophisticated tastes, and those whose palates are simply tired of ordinary desserts, will love the bright bold flavors of this delightful tea cake. I've made it 3 times now, twice without incident. Obviously, I have a caution to share with you. It is tricky to tell when this cake is done and if you pull it from the oven before its time,  you'll have an unmistakeable wet streak in the middle of your cake. Following my first less than stellar attempt, I increased the baking time by 15 minutes and had fantastic results. I love the blend of flavors in this cake and I'll be making it often. I hope you will give it a try. It is a wonderful cake for the slightly adventurous. Here's the recipe.

Orange Blossom Tea-Cake with Grapes and Olive Oil...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Barbara Bamber and Laura Calder

5 egg, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 orange zest only
1-1/2 teaspoons orange blossom water
1 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 ounces seedless red grapes
3 tablespoons warm honey
2 tablespoons coarse baker's sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
coarse white sprinkling sugar and regular sugar


1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan with a little olive oil then line with parchment paper.
2) Gently crushed dried green cardamom pods with a rolling-pin to remove black seeds inside. Discard outer pod. Continue crushing pods until you have 1 teaspoon of black cardamom seeds.
3) Beat egg yolks and sugar until sugar dissolves and thick, pale ribbons of batter form. Mix in olive oil, lemon juice and zest, orange zest and orange blossom water. Add cardamom seeds to batter.
4) Beat egg whites and salt in another bowl until stiff peaks are formed.
5) Sift cake flour into another bowl,
6) Add flour to egg yolk batter. Then gently fold in beaten egg whites, taking care not to deflate egg whites. Fold in half of the grapes.
7) Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, then open oven and scatter remaining grapes over top. Using your finger, gently press the grapes to partially submerge them into cake. Leave some more exposed than others. Close oven door and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes or until a skewer poked in middle of cake comes out clean.
8) Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cook. Leave the cake in springform pan and gently brush warm, spreadable honey over top. Sprinkle coarse baker's sugar over top and finish with a dusting of regular sugar. Allow cake to cool completely in springform pan, then gently remove and transfer to a cake plate. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

(adapted from French Taste, by Laura Calder)

One Year Ago Today: Turkish Shepherd's Salad - Coban Salatas

Two Years Ago Today: Chocolate Babka

Three Years Ago Today: Easy New England Clam Chowder


Ginny Hartzler said...

I have never seen such an unusual cake recipe as this. But what has really caught my interest is the chocolate Babka below. I have been curious about Babkas ever since seeing the Seinfeld episode about them years ago. I wondered what made them different from the other coffee cake type desserts. So I loved your article, the explanation and the recipe.

Nisha said...

Orange-flavored Grape Cake? How intriguing!
Thanks for sharing! :)

Gerry @Foodness Gracious said...

What an amzing sounding unique recipe. I love the ingredient list and I'll be bookmarking this :)

Alessandra said...

Yes definitely a cake for a large group, but I am sure that it would last a few days, so it would be great for a family too :-).

Have a great Sunday Mary

What's Baking?? said...

Can I give you a title, Mary? 'The Kitchen Goddess'! :) Always love your food! Have a great week.


I prefer European style ... anything.

QembarDelites said...

Orange blossom sounds like a wonderful flavor to have in a cake, looks beautiful too, I must search for it in our bakery here.

SImple and Serene Living said...

What an interesting combination, Mary. I would love to hang out in your kitchen for a day :)

Chiara said...

I love this kind of cake, thanks for sharing Mary, have a good day, blessings....

Bites from life with the barking lot said...

I'm going to look for the orange water on line. I've made something like this from another blog - for breakfast and it was wonderful. Can't wait to try this one, plus the orange water info says it is great in the bath!

Kim said...

I saw this type of cake a couple of times and I have to say, I'm really curious. It looks really good!

lena said...

this is a beautiful cake! yeah, never come across orange blossom water and thanks so much for telling how we can use a mixture of orange extract with lemon juice to obtain that flavour.

Jane said...

This is a very gorgeous cake, and sounds so good! I have heard of orange blossom water, but will have to look for some online!

Pilar. Cook and Spoon said...

I love the combination of fruit in cakes. So delicious!

Cindy said...

Beautiful cake Mary!!
Loved the recipe!
Have a wonderful Sunday!

Salsa Verde said...

Hi Mary,
Amazing recipe and, as soon as I buy grapes, i'm going to try it, because it looks really yummy and scrumptious!

A Paix√£o da Isa said...

whoua tudo esta perfeito maravilhoso adorei como sempre ja tinha saudades de ca vir pois so tem coisinhas muito boas parabens bjs

Barb Bamber said...

What a lovely surprise to open up your blog today and read this:) It's really such a gift when someone makes your recipes and I'm so glad you loved my cake enough to give it a go. I'm so sorry that it didn't cook in the time I've listed. I've got a convection oven so much adjust my times or mention that it's a hotter oven.. You're a sweetie!! xoxo Smidge

Joanne said...

maybe it's the mediterranean blood in me but I LOVE the flavor of olive oil in desserts! This sounds great!

Kitchen Riffs said...

This is a spectacular recipe. I love the ingredients in this - it must taste wonderful. Really, really interesting recipe and post - thanks so much.

The Harried Cook said...

I love cakes baked with olive oil! And the orange/grape combination is so good! I might just skip the cardamom though (not a fan!) Love the way this cake looks too :) Thanks for sharing, Mary!

Catherine said...

Dear Mary, This sounds just delightful. I am sure it is with a good cup of coffee. Blessings my dear, Catherine xo

Gloria Baker said...

Love this Tea cake look perfect!!

Unknown said...

It sure looks delicious! And I love grape cakes too!

Tanna said...

Very interesting! We love adventuresome recipes. Thank you, Mary. My best to the Silver Fox. blessings ~ tanna

Kathy said...

Mary, This is a beautiful looking cake! Love the flavor of orange blossom water…exotic!

tenderb said... and grapes. Sounds like a pretty intense cake.

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