Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Moroccan Orange Blossom, Cardamon and Yoghurt Bundt Cake



 This is a special occasion Bundt cake combining aromatic cardamon and cinnamon, with orange blossom water and yoghurt, and some pomegranate seeds for glamour.It might sound fancy, but it's a cinch to make as no electric mixer is required for this recipe just a whisk, a mixing spoon, a large bowl and a Bundt cake tin. It tastes so amazingly good, that I am tempted to change years of tradition at Christmas this year, and replace my fruit cake with this light and exotic taste sensation, or perhaps I will make two to suit all tastes.  Add some red ribbon, ornaments and other adornments and we could have a Christmas cake.  

A slice of Bundt Cake with Mahjong anyone? Regular readers will know that most Tuesday afternoons I play Mahjong with a group of ladies, and an important part of the afternoon's enjoyment is that we also enjoy coffee and cake made by our hostess. It was my turn this week to have Mahjong at our place and so I decided it was time to make this cake again.

Bundt cakes have a firmer consistency than a lot of cakes and so they release from the tin very easily. They are called Bundt cakes because they are baked in a fluted style of tin with a hole in the middle which originated in America, however the denser type of cake mixture has more European roots from countries such as Germany. My tin isn't as fluted as some of the ones out there so the Bundt shape isn't as obvious. By any standards though it is a delicious cake and only takes 30 minutes to bake in the oven. The whole cake can be prepared and cooked quickly which will be great in our Summer heat.



I mention Mahjong occasionally and some of my reader friends express an interest in it so I thought I would give you a glimpse of some of the winning hands from last Tuesday, a mini Mahjong Masterclass if you like. I was lucky enough to win two of the games. It is surprising how many people are playing Mahjong now, and it doesn't need to be as competitive or as time consuming as the game of Bridge. I am told though that playing Mahjong on the computer is very different to playing with other people in the Western style like we do. We learn amongst ourselves and have two excellent books to refer to written by Patricia Thompson and Betty Maloney called The Mahjong Players Companion, and The Game of Mahjong illustrated. Some community groups including U3A also teach it if you are interested. I thought you might enjoy the names of the various hands which were the winning hands for us last Tuesday. So after the very pleasant Twittering of the Birds, which is the name for the shuffling of the tiles as they click away, we built our wall of tiles, aka the Great Wall of China, which can't be broken or the bad spirits will enter apparently,  and then the games begin.

Crazy chows.
The range of winning hands is vast however this is one of our favourite hands, and possibly one of the easiest as it gives players a lot more flexibility to move the tiles on their rack around . The tiles on the board below are from a winning hand of Crazy Chows. The tiles on this rack are made up of the three Mahjong suits, Spots, Bamboos, and Cracks, and are all numbered. This was one of my winning hands. A chow is a run of three tiles eg 3,4,5, however in Crazy chows the chow is made up of a tile from each suit. 
Crazy Chows

Crazy Chows again
A player is only allowed to win once with a Crazy Chow on any afternoon.

Ordinary Mahjong Hand. This hand might be called an ordinary hand but it is far from ordinary, and here we have tiles all in the same suit. Bamboos, Spots or Cracks and also some Winds and Dragons are part of the hand if we are dealt them. Achieving this hand is very satisfying, and a lot of fun, and because tiles can be picked up from the discard pile to add to your hand, it means more control over the game for the player with an ordinary hand. Before trying to learn the plethora of other Mahjong hands, I think this is the first hand a player should try and learn, providing a good foundation for the game.


An ordinary Mahjong hand, one of the most popular hands


In this ordinary hand we have a Pung of 3 spots, a chow of 4,5,6 spots,  a pair of East Winds, 3 Green Dragons (F), and 3 South Winds (S). 

Triple Knitting, which is matching one from each suit with the same number. This was also one of my winnning hands. I have to say that I knit better at Mahjong then with knitting needles.

Triple Knitting

Three Philosophers. This hand is made up of a chow in each suit, a mixed chow, and a pair in any suit. We all like this hand and it is easy to remember.


Another winning hand of Three Philosophers
A serious game in Progress here


The tiles are being dealt out to the players here. Each player has 13 tiles, the dealer starts with 14.



Big Robert. Lou won this hand below with a Big Robert. I don't know who Robert was but there is also a hand called Little Robert.This hand needs three runs of 4 tiles with a run in each suit, and a Pair of Winds. It's not an easy hand to achieve.

The Wind tiles are East, South, North and West, E.S.N.W, and feature in a lot of the hands.

Big Robert
Other popular hands are Wriggly Snake, Gerties Garter, Moon at the Bottom of the Well, Five Odd Honours, Green Jade, Hovering Angel and many more. The challenge is to remember the various hands and choose the right hand to suit the tiles you are dealt. I am also very fortunate that Mr. HRK made my wooden Mahjong racks from scratch, and they are state of the art with indicators at the corners of each one to help with building the wall straight. He's taking orders if you would like a set made, he just doesn't know it yet:) I'm not sure what he would charge though. He really does a beautiful job.

Well after this little introduction to the game of Mahjong which I hope you enjoyed,  I think we should cook don't you?

Let's Cook:

This recipe requires a 2L (25cm)  bundt cake pan and Serves 6.

Moroccan Orange Blossom and Cardamon Yoghurt Bundt cake recipe


Ingredients: 
1 ⅓ cups (200g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup (125g) almond meal
⅔ cup (150g) castor sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup (280g) thick Greek-style yoghurt
150ml sunflower oil
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp orange blossom water

Icing:
1 1/2 cups (225g) icing sugar, sifted
2 tbs milk
1 tsp orange blossom water
I decorate this cake to serve with Pomegranate seeds or chopped pistachio nuts

Let’s cook: 

Preheat your oven to 180 deg. C. Grease and flour a 2L (25cm) bundt cake pan.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, yoghurt and oil until well combined, then stir into the dry ingredients.



Fold in the lemon zest, and 2 tsp orange blossom water. 

An important tip to remember when using a bundt pan is that you must grease and flour every area of the baking dish before you pour in the cake batter. Then before placing the pan in the oven, thump it a couple of times on the bench to remove any air bubbles from the batter. (Don't worry if you forget this step, I did.) Spoon mixture into the greased and floured bundt pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.


Cool the cake slightly, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


The only thing I was worried about with making this cake was removing it from the pan when it was cooked. As it happened, this was simple. I eased a few of the edges away from the tin with a knife, tipped it upside down on a plate, and hoped for the best. It came out beautifully. 



Phew, out of the tin and it didn't stick to the sides at all.



The Icing on your cake:   

Stir the icing sugar, milk and remaining 1 tsp orange blossom water into a small bowl until you have a slightly firm but drizzling consistency.  Pour the icing into a jug, then drizzle over the cake, so that it covers the surface and drizzles over the side of the cake. This will also be easier if you rotate the cake slowly as you pour the icing over the surface.When the icing is nearly set, sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, or even just chopped pistachio nuts, or both, then serve. 

Below is a photo of the same cake I made almost four years ago now, and I think this is possibly a better photo than my latest one, but not as much icing. Bundt cakes don't necessarily need any icing, but I do like icing with my cakes don't you?




My daughter is getting married in two weeks in Cairns to a wonderful young man, so yes I am in somewhat of a spin, and working through a list of things to do, and we are very excited. I sent her a photo of this cake thinking it would be nice for Christmas in Cairns suiting the warmer weather, and she has suggested it would also be nice to have in the house as a prewedding cake, so I will be making another one shortly. 

Warm wishes and stay safe,


Pauline


xx

8 comments:

  1. Pauline I have never seen Mahjong played. It sounds a bit too confusing for me but I imagine it would be good for your brain. That cake looks very light and delicious as well.

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    1. Chel, Thanks so much for being such a loyal follower of my blog and taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it. If I can play Mahjong, I'm sure you can play it as well. It certainly can take a few months to get the hang of it, but once it clicks it is much easier, although there is also a lot of luck involved as well. I am trying new things to keep the brain active.

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  2. there's something about a bundt cake, isn't there? that wonderful shape and that fabulous hole in the middle. i remember seeing people playing mahjong in china and hong kong. a very popular game:) cheers sherry

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    1. Sherry, My mum used to make lots of cakes in a ring tin with a hole in the middle before they were fashionably called Bundt cakes, I love them, and they are so fast to bake. I don't think I would measure up to Mahjng in Hong Kong, they are so fast:) Thanks so much for your comment.

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  3. Hi Pauline oh your bunt cake looks amazing and so yummy.
    My mum and I used to play Mahjong,it bought back many happy memories, as I lost my mum last year.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend xx

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    1. Thanks Sheryl, I hope I wrote about the Hands etc correctly as I am far from an expert. You must miss your Mum very much, and it's lovely that you and she played Mahjong. Perhaps you will get back to it again one day. xx

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  4. I seriously can not wait to bake this cake. It looks so beautiful and I am quite a fan of orange blossom water and cardamom! Thanks for the recipe

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    1. Thanks Judee, it tastes as good as it looks and sounds. I really hope you manage to bake it. Thanks for dropping by. Pauline

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