Here it is! Everyone has been asking for this recipe and I am happy to share my rendition of it. The base recipe is from the Salma Hage “Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook” which you can find here.
When I first read this recipe I was surprised by a technique she uses. She boils an orange for about an hour and a half, which I have never used in any other recipes when baking.
I did as she suggested and it worked! I changed this recipe by adding some mahleb (ground cherry pit powder common in Middle Eastern baking) and cardamom. I used peaches instead of plums and I added pistachios on top because why not? I served this cake with some whipped yoghurt and orange blossom water. It was a fantastic complement to all these other aromatic flavours.
1 orange, skin off
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1/3 cup of maple syrup (or you can use agave syrup)
2 cups of sifted almond meal
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp cardamom
1 Tbsp mahleb
handful of chopped pistachios
thick yoghurt, honey and a cap of orange blossom water
1) Put the peeled whole orange into a saucepot and cover with water. Boil and cover, reduce to a simmer for 60-90 minutes.
2) Preheat your oven to 325F and grease a round pan with butter, add parchment paper to the bottom.
3) Blend the cooked orange and sugar until smooth. Whisk the egg yolks and maple syrup until it turns pale and looks creamy. Add the orange puree, cardamom, mahleb, almond meal and baking powder.
4) Whisk egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Fold into the other mixture. Pour batter into the greased pan. Cut your peaches or whichever fruits you are using on top and arrange on the cake, press in. Top with pistachios.
5) Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and not wet. Depending on your oven, this could be an extra 10-15 minutes of baking time. Cool on a rack. Serve with sweetened whipped yoghurt and orange blossom water.