Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blood orange cake and Caulfield Guineas

I subscribe to Gourmet Traveller, an Australian food magazine packed with food porn.  Every month, I bookmark numerous recipes to make, but unfortunately, life goes too quickly for me to make them all before I receive the next month's instalment.

In October's Gourmet Traveller, there is a spread about Mike McEnearney of Kitchen By Mike.  Funnily enough, Kitchen By Mike is right next door to the Sydney office of my workplace, so I have been there.  Among a number of other recipes featured was Mike's recipe for blood orange cake.  However, this was not your average orange cake - instead of plain flour, it contains semolina, polenta and almond meal.  This fact, along with the blood oranges, pulled me in hook, line and sinker, and I knew I had to make this cake.  

What I failed to realise is that the syrup for the cake was not an optional extra - it actually needs to be poured over the hot cake to make it moist.  With no more oranges in the house, I turned to their citrus cousins, lemons, and made the lemon syrup from this recipe to pour over my cake.  It seemed to do the trick, as the cake received plenty of praise at work and no-one recognised that I had used lemon syrup on the orange cake.  The polenta adds a nice crunchy texture to the cake, and I think that the only thing that might make it better is a glaze - optional, but I like sweet things.


To make this cake (with my lemon syrup substitution), you will need:


215g butter
215g sugar
grated zest and juice of 4 blood oranges
4 eggs

250g semolina
1 tablespoon baking powder
155g almond meal
100g polenta


60 ml lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon

1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water

To make the syrup, combine lemon juice in a small saucepan with the lemon zest, sugar and water. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, then simmer for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Set aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 22cm round cake tin.

Beat the butter, sugar and orange zest until light and creamy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the baking powder and half of each of the orange juice, semolina, polenta and almond meal,  mixing until just combined.  Add the remaining juice, semolina, polenta and almond meal and mix until just combined. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake tin, and bake for 20 minutes before reducing the temperature to 150 degrees  and baking for a further 25-30 minutes or until the cake is cooked through.  Remove the cake from the oven and poke small holes all over the top of it with a skewer. Pour over the lemon syrup, then allow the cake to cool in the tin.  Once cooled, glaze if desired.

To serve, remove the cake from the tin and cut into slices. 

Yesterday, I went to the Caulfield Guineas, a horse racing day that is part of the Spring Raching Carnival in Melbourne.  Here I am at the mounting yards in my overcoat and hat, and it was as cold, grey and wet as it looks:

I was a guest in a corporate marquee.  The highlight of the hospitality was the dessert, where we were offered cake pops and macarons:

turkish delight, raspberry cakes and lemon cheesecake tarts:

and cheese, crackers and fruit:

It was a fun day, despite the awful weather, but I did not do too well on the betting front - luckily for me my bets were mostly 50 cents each way.

Perversely, it is fine and hot in Melbourne today.

Hope you had a great weekend.