I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We have been unpacking like crazy, but we still have a little more to do. However, I did find time to take some pictures around my new village and make a cake for a friend’s birthday party on Saturday night.
Spring is rearing its beautiful bounty here in Israel. Here are a few pictures near my new home:
I really love my new house. It is so nice to have a garden. I can’t wait to take advantage of it. The citrus trees are in full bloom, so when a friend of mine asked me to bring something for her birthday party on Saturday night, I decided to make something citrusy. She said she wanted something with orange in it, so I made an orange curd cake. This is a variation of a Serena Bass recipe I have for her lemon curd cake. I added less sugar and I also added a little lemon juice to offset the sweetness of the oranges. It is an easy cake recipe and the curd can be prepared several days in advance. This is a very moist cake that will be a big hit at any meal or afternoon tea.
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
Zest of 3 oranges, finely grated
1/2 cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
4 extra-large egg yolks
2 extra-large whole eggs
100g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
170g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1 /2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
In a medium-size nonstick or nonreactive saucepan, add the sugar, salt, and orange zest and juice, and whisk until smooth. Then add the egg yolks and whole eggs and quickly whisk well. Set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring pretty much constantly until the mixture starts to bubble around the edges (about 8 minutes). Then add the butter in little lumps, stirring after each addition, and simmer gently. (No boiling, as the molten mixture can cause quite a burn if it splats onto your hand.) Stir for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens well. Transfer it to a small shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface while the mixture is still hot; set aside to cool. Once it's cool, you can use it immediately or transfer it to a plastic container, cover the surface as before, and store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 22cm (9-inch) springform pan with vegetable oil.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Using an electric mixer with the balloon whisk attachment, beat the butter until creamy and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. While the sugar is fluffing up, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk to blend. Gradually pour the eggs into the mixture and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and base of the bowl a couple times to make sure everything is well incorporated.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, stir in the orange zest, add the dry ingredients, and fold in gently until just a little flour is still visible.
Spread half the cake batter on the bottom of the pan. Cover with half of the orange curd, keeping just shy of the perimeter. Spoon on the remaining batter somewhat randomly, then drop 3 large spoonfuls of the orange curd on top of the batter. Take a butter knife or blunt knife and make a figure eight motion in the batter to create a marbling effect.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean and the lemon curd on top has turned a rich golden brown. If the curd is browning too much, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan.
Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Then run a small sharp knife around the circumference. Release and remove the sides of the springform. Run a large, sharp unserrated knife under the cake to loosen it. Then use the knife blade to help slide it onto a cake plate. You can either dust with confectioners' sugar or leave the cake plain so the orange curd shows.