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Orange Pistachio Saffron Cake
This floral cake gets it character from the whole orange that goes into making it. The fruit not only adds a rich summer like citrus flavor but also makes for a very airy crumb texture. The addition or pistachios adds a contrasting crunchy texture to the cake. But the best part about this cake has to be the honey saffron syrup that helps keep that orange fresh and the entire cake moist.
What makes this cake extraordinary is not only the ingredient used to make it, or the vague Middle Eastern touch to the flavor profile but the method in which it is made. This cake batter is made in a food processor. Yes. I made it in the blender and it works like a charm.
There is no whisking of eggs or creaming of sugar and butter or folding of flour but instead the food processor does the job for you. It is so easy to make and baking it in a fancy Bundt tin makes it look so laborious but in fact you have hardly spent any time making this cake.
I first came across a recipe with semolina and boiled whole oranges that were blended which is a traditional Greek Orange Cake. One day I tried it out without boiling the oranges used regular flour essentially making an orange pound cake with the whole orange instead of just using the zest and juice. It worked like a charm.
The preparation of this cake doesn’t take much time however the *baking time does vary depending on the cake tin. If you are using a large Bundt tin it will take around 35-40 min, mini Bundt tin will take 30mins, cupcakes will take 18-20 mins to bake, a regular cake tin will take close to 40mins and that’s because the cake batter has a lot of moisture due to the whole oranges. So it does need t be baked until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
The addition of the nuts and the syrup was to channel the flavors of Middle East and to make this cake even more special. I mean I did feel guilty of how easy this way to make and I was looking for delicious Eid based recipe so I felt the addition of these two elements adds a level of festivity to the cake making it special not only for an occasion but also for a regular I-need-to-use-up-my-oranges occasion.
A few Substitutes:
Eggs – ¼ cup of yogurt per egg or 1 flaxseed egg per egg works in this recipe.
Vegan – Use flaxseed eggs in place of eggs. Vegan butter works well here, you could use 150 ml of vegetable oil with 50gm margarine. Avoid the honey in the syrup by using maple syrup.
Flour – Cake flour, Spelt flour, Self-raising flour, Almond flour, Coconut flour and Tapioca flour.
GF – Almond, coconut and any gluten free flour mix works well in this recipe.
Sugar – Coconut sugar, raw sugar, granulated white sugar and light brown sugar are some of the options I would recommend here.
Orange – It is an orange cake however it does work with limes and lemons. The quantity for limes would be 200 gm, lemons would be 100gm, and the recipe method stays the same.
Nuts – You cause walnuts, almonds, pine nuts or any nut you like. I love the flavor combination of pistachios and orange.
Microwave heating – The cake can be microwaved for 16-18 mins.
Microwave baking – Preheat microwave and bake at 170°C for 22-24mins.
Microwave mug cake – To make this version, use 3 tbsp of batter in a coffee mug and microwave it for 2 mins until risen and dry to the touch.
Stove heating – Indirect dry heating with a large sauté pan with the source of heat at the bottom and the cake tin inside the pan, covered with a lid, bake for 40-45 mins
Stove steaming – Place a large stock pot on the heat and add ¼ amount of water into the pot, place a wire rack/heat proof plate at the bottom on the pot, cover the cake tin with foil and place on the wire rack. Cover with a lid and steam for 38-40mins
The wash up for this recipe is a food processor making it super easy to prepare. Once baked the cake should be cooled in the tin for around 5 -10mins and then turned out. The syrup should be added onto the cake while its still warm so it can soak up all the lovely flavors. The whipped cream will be added only once the cake is cooled down completely.
The cake can be stored without the whipped cream for up to 3 weeks in the freezer in zip lock bags. Also, it can be left at room temperature for 2 days. Once you have decorated it with the whipped cream you cannot freeze the cake and it can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. I wouldn’t recommend storing the cake with the whipped cream frosting for too long as it can get soggy. Happy Baking!
Orange Pistachio Saffron Cake
- Food processor/Blender
- Large mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Bundt tin/Mini bundt tin/cake tin
- 450 gm Oranges (quartered and seeds removed)
- 225 gm Butter (soft)
- 250 gm Castor sugar
- 3 nos Eggs
- 320 gm Flour
- ½ tsp Baking soda
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- Pinch Salt
- ¼ cup Pistachios (sliced and lightly toasted)
- 1 cup water
- 3 tbsp honey
- 10 strands Saffron
- 200 ml Whipping cream (chilled)
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 3 tbsp Pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Spray your bundt tin with baking spray or brush with oil and set aside.
- In your food processor/blender blitz your oranges until it’s the consistency of chunky mashed potatoes.
- Add the butter and blend again until combined. Add the sugar ad blend further.
- At this stage scrape down the sides of the blender and blend once more. Add the eggs all at once and blend until smooth.
- Add all the rest of the cake ingredients except for the nuts and blend for 2-3 seconds until the mixture looks almost combined. When you look at it you will see pockets of flour, that’s okay.
- Add the nuts and using the spatula briefly mix the batter together until you don’t see any flour. Transfer batter to the prepared tin and level using a spoon.
- Place on the middle wrack of the oven and bake for 38-30 mins* (refer to the time mentioned above)
- Once the cake is baked through, toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean leave to cool at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing from the tin.
- After the cake has been removed from the tin, generously pour over the syrup and let it soak in all that goodness while it is still warm.
- While the cake is cooling down, whisk the ingredients for the cream in a large bowl until soft peaks. Do this with a whisk/electric beater/planetary mixer.
- Once the cake has cooled, dollop the cream on top of the cake and garnish with more nuts or serve the cream on the side with a slice of the cake.
-Make this mini Bundt cake ahead of time and freeze them. Microwave it for a min when needed and serve with fresh cream or VANILLA ICE CREAM.
- They also work well as cupcakes and you can pipe over my cream cheese frosting.