The last few weeks have felt a little like being on a rollercoaster, at high velocity. Time simply blurs between day and night, with my head hitting the pillow, eyes close, only to open wide once again a few hours later. Try as I might get to bed earlier, these nights are few and far between. But that's ok. It is just the season I am in at this very moment, and quite frankly I couldn't be happier.
I think I can speak for many a mother here. Sometimes, more often than not, there is just not enough time in the day to keep on top of the daily goings on as well as trying to find that time of "in-between" moments to focus on our creative pursuits. As I write this, I am leaning on the center console, while Ben drives the car. Amidst the bumps and dips in the road and the incessant demands coming from the back seat of two small humans, I try and block it all out and then let the words flow. They often come racing ahead faster than I can keep up. Why is everything so fast? I have to constantly remind myself to, breathe.
which brings me to this cake. A cake that was baked in a moment of what I like to refer to as, "just because baking", something that has not happened in such a long time. There has always been a reason - be it recipe testing. or a dessert requested for a gathering. So when I found myself in a carved-out wedge of time on a Saturday morning I whisked almond meal and flour together. creamed sugar, butter, and fragrant orange zest until light and fluffy. Scrubbed the fuzz from a quince. Grated said quince and folded everything together with thick dollops of Greek yoghurt and orange juice. The result was this glorious, dense yet light, pudding-ish cake which I served still warm on pretty china plates.
The irony of it all, however, was that everyone enjoyed it so much that I had to quickly grab the nearest pen and scrap of paper to scribble it all down, along with a reminder to re-test before sharing it here in the hope that it may be baked by you, in an "in-between" moment, "just because".
Special thanks to Lisa Brown, for being my recipe tester and suggesting a couple of very welcome additions.
Quince, almond, and orange cake
Makes a 15cm cake
*This recipe has been adapted from Tilly Pamment's citrus and semolina cake
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
160g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 large orange
2 eggs, at room temperature
80g self-raising flour
100g almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 quince, (approx 170-180g)
125g Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
Preheat your oven to 160c (fan-forced) and grease and line with baking paper a 15cm round cake tin.
Beat butter, sugar, and zest with an electric mixer until light and creamy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until combined. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all the eggs have been incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt until combined.
Wash the quince well and remove any of the fuzz. Using a box grater, grate the quince, skin, and all.
Add the flour, quince, yoghurt, and juice to the creamed butter mixture and stir to combine.
Spoon the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for about 1 hour or until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Alternatively, you can check by inserting a skewer into the middle, if it comes out clean, it is ready.
Meanwhile, stir the sugar and orange juice over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes and then set aside.
When your cake is ready, use a skewer to make half a dozen or so holes in the top and pour over the hot syrup. Allow to rest in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of thickened cream, creme fraiche, or simply as is.
*You can also bake this in a 20cm cake tin, baking time will vary, so just keep an eye on it and check at about the 45-minute mark.