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I told you about Mastering Spice, a new book in my library. So I made the next try to recreate something out of the book. I stumbled over a recipe for an olive oil based loaf cake.
The book is so organized that there is a main recipe & following there are some variations. I found the recipe for the olive oil cake loaf & a variation w/ additional dried fruit. Each version relied on another spice blend.
So what did I do?
I skipped the idea of adding dried fruit thinking it might be interesting just comparing the resulting flavors out of different spice blends.
The whole baking went well; I got wonderful fluffy cakes – evenly baked & totally soft.
(This means also that the relation of flour, eggs, oil, milk is well-balanced!)
I’ve got 2 loaf tins (25 cm w/ 1,7 l) & decided to bake the loafs simultaneously. The recipe works w/ a loaf tin (20 cm / 1,4 l). I thought: well, then the loaf will be not so high … & it worked well. The smaller loaf tin of the recipe even might have been a little too small.
Oh … if you wonder why the cakes have different colors … it’s only because of the different spice blends.
So let’s work on 2 process chains … simultaneously …
We start w/ mixing:
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
For the record:
If you wonder about the color of the baking powder: the baking powder comes w/ saffron.
Then we allocate:
- olive oil
Concerning the sugar: I only worked with about 70 % of the sugar amount of the original recipe.
For the record:
I usually reduce the amount of sugar in any cakes & desserts by somewhat in between 10% to 30%. Only if the blog post or the cookbook presenting the recipe tells me that the sugar is already reduced compared to former approach (& I think that it seems fine!) I start following the recipe.
At least now you should start your oven; preheat it to 160° C w/ fan. You also should prepare the loaf tins by lining them w/ baking parchment. Do it the way that you can lift the cake loaf easily out of the tin after the oven session.
For the record:
The recipe asked for 375° F w/o fan & 1 h baking time.
This means about 190° C w/o fan & 1 h baking time.
This means about 170° C w/ fan & 50 min baking time.
I decided to use 160° C w/ fan – my usual baking temperature.
When checking after 40 min w/ a wooden pin I decided to give it another 10 min.
W/ your handheld electric mixer we whisk together sugar, eggs, olive oil & milk.
We grate the oranges & add some orange juice.
Now we deal w/ the spice blends. We’ve got:
- ground cardamom
- ground mace
- ground cloves
& on the other side:
- ground ginger
- ground fennel
- ground black pepper.
I had all spices in ground state except of fennel. I bought fennel seeds, put them in my manually operated coffee grinder (see here) & had ground fennel afterwards.
You may notice that we deal w/ rather strong & pungent spices – not spices you’ll assume to use in a cake. As a result you can be sure that the cake is more savory than sweet. As a whole it’s more like a bread … except for the texture.
Now, however, we mix the flour mess w/ the spice blend.
We combine the dry mess w/ the liquid mess …
We add some alcohol:
- dark rum to the fennel-pepper-ginger blend
- aperol to the cardamom-mace-clove blend.
The dough is rather runny – it’s ok.
We pour it into the loaf tins & into the preheated oven.
50 min later we’ve got 2 nice, soft, fluffy loafs!
From the texture it’s a cake.
From the spices it’s a bread.
From the sugar & the spices it’s a sweet bread.
You may choose how to call it.
The spice blends are overwhelming … although there is a distinctive difference in the flavour. It’s best to eat slices of the cake w/ some butter or plain yoghurt on top.
By the book I should have roasted some of the spices & afterwards grind them which should assure even more flavour. I’m honest: The cakes/sweet breads/breads are delicious, but for me they are somewhat too flavorful. Especially the orange flavour & the alcohol vanish in the background. Before starting I had some doubts about the amounts of spices, but I decided to do it along to the recipe.
Coming back to the cookbook:
In general I noticed that spices are used generously. (I would have used less of the spices for my cakes – & I’ll do in future.) The spice blends suggested in the cookbook seem interesting – & I’m sure I’ll test them in future. (Especially there is a spiced blend suggested for chicken breads which sounds just great …)
- 240 g all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 150 g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150 g olive oil
- 150 g milk
- zest of an organic orange
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp aperol
- 2½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp mace
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- 1½ tsp ground fennel
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 loaf tins (25 cm)
- electric handheld mixer
- manually operated coffee grinder
- Preheat the oven to 160° C w/ fan.
- Mix flour & baking powder & salt; fill 2 bowls - each for a loaf.
- W/ your electric handheld mixer whip the eggs, add the sugar, add the olive oil & the milk; fill 2 bowls - each for a loaf.
- Grate the organic orange & add to the egg mess - an orange per bowl.
- Add orange juice ...
- Ground the fennel seeds & mix w/ the rest of the spice blend.
- Add alcohol & spice blends to the bowls w/ the egg mess; so creating different cakes.
- Line the loaf tins w/ baking parchment.
- Pour the dough into the loaf tins.
- Let them bake in the oven for about 40 - 50 min.
- Make the famous test w/ the wooden pin after about 40 min & decide ...
- Let the cakes rest for 10 - 15 min; afterwards lift out the cakes & let them cool completely.
For me it’s too overwhelming - so I like to suggest to use only half of the amounts ...
(This doesn’t mean that the cakes were unenjoyable ... & I’m sure that there are people loving a real spice kick ... )