orange cinnamon cake

Sweet-Talk: Lady Parker’s Orange & Cinnamon Syrup Cake

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]anta brought, or should that be bought, me a brand new food processor for Christmas. I was elated. In fact I’m sure on that Christmas morning I had all the hallmarks of a 6-year old’s face when he or she realises the largest box underneath the tree bears their name. It’s perhaps needless to say, but it is now not only the most essential appliance in my kitchen, but also an extension of self.

It sticks predominantly to a staple diet of dips and dressings, enjoying churning through toasted pine nuts, herbs, anchovies and olive oil to create pestos that guests pile high on freshly baked ciabatta; agitating egg yolks so much that they give in and blend seamlessly with garlic, oil and seasoning to create a perfect aioli; and regularly palpitates chickpeas into a mindless imbroglio of Middle Eastern piquancy.

Yes it really is quite a terror.

However it also has a more benign, saccharine side. One which begets sighs of pleasure and engenders pangs of guilt. Dessert.

I am typically a traditionalist when it comes to baking. I prefer for example to prove, knead and bake my bread myself rather than tip ingredients into what looks like a miniature Fisher & Paykel washing-machine and 2 hours later come back to a Pantheon-shaped loaf. Likewise I often find sado-masochistic pleasure in beating by hand egg-whites, cream, or butter & sugar mixtures rather than subjecting such delicate makings to the wrath of an electric beater.

The food processor is on debut in this sensitive area of baked goods production. It was under even more pressure because my planned creation was to be matched with a decent dessert wine. Assisted by other indispensable kitchen hardware, the food processor performed (even with the close scrutiny of kitchen hoverers), turning out a result that was surprisingly very acceptable. And it won extra points for the little cleaning up required!

The Orange & Cinnamon Syrup Cake was moist, not too sweet, nor too citrusy with a slight warm spice and lovely orangey marmalade syrup topping. For these reasons it paired beautifully with its sweeter vinous partner, the De Bortoli ‘Noble One’ Botrytis Semillon 2007, from New South Wales, Australia.

Dessert Wine Pairing:

Some good rules to follow when pairing dessert wines with sweet courses are:

  • Typically the dessert wine should be sweeter than the dessert itself.
  • Match the common main themes together – in this case; a Semillon naturally has citrus components, so a not-to-sweet Citrus cake will pair well (likewise, a Late Harvest Riesling will be a great match). Sticky Semillon also has a stone-fruit / dried apricot profile so any desserts (such as an Apricot Tart) would go very well.
  • And if you want to get really technical, if you do know what the acidity and sugar levels are like in your selected dessert wine, ensure you harmonize these with your sweet course. Try to steer clear of dessert wines that have lots of acidity, unless you are pairing with an equally high-acid dessert dish.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he De Bortoli ‘Noble One’ Botrytis Semillon 2007 is from New South Wales, Australia. De Bortoli is one of the larger wine companies in Australia, has Italian history and produces some very high quality wines. Its success is conspicuous with such awards as Winestate Magazine’s Australian Wine Company of the Year 2010/2011, and is testament to their wonderful philosophy of remaining true to core values.

“there is a culture of hard work, generosity of spirit and of sharing good food, good wine and good times with family and friends.”

This sticky Semillon has won hundreds of gold medals and trophies over its 25 years of production.

It has a deep gold, deep straw colour with a nose of honeyed dates, dried apricots, orange blossom, and light, warm spice. The palate has a true ethereal, but quite syrupy texture. This carries on into a similarly intense mouthfeel with lots of orange and ripe tropical fruit on the palate. It reminds me of a pineapple ‘Fruju’ iceblock – that syrupy, tropical flavour sensation on a hot summers day, and even includes that taste of the wood from the iceblock stick. It has good fruit sweetness, and proved to be a delightful match with the Orange Cinnamon Syrup Cake with Chantilly Cream – the cake has a marmalade syrup – introducing a nice bit of bitter sweetness that interacts wonderfully with this wine, and a lightness which lifts the heaviness of this wine.

88 points.

So now to the recipe…

Orange & Cinnamon Syrup Cake with Chantilly Cream
1 orange
200g butter, melted
1 ½ cups caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp orange rind
2 cups self-raising flour
1 heaped tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp yoghurt

Preheat oven to 160°C, grease a deep, removable base cake-tin (or spring-form tin).
Melt your butter, and letting it cool for a bit, pull out your trusty food processor. Grate your orange so you have fine orange rinds, peel the rest of the pith off, segment, and cut each segment in half (ensuring there are no pips). Pulverise the segments in your food processor. Add your now cool butter, sugar, eggs, and 2 tsp orange rind. Blend until combined.
Add your sifted flour and cinnamon, pulse until just combined, then add your yoghurt and pulse again. Pour into your prepared pan, and bake for 1 hour.

To make your Marmalade syrup,

1 tbsp water
2 tbsp caster sugar
1/3 c orange juice
3 tbsp good-quality marmalade

In a saucepan bring water and caster sugar to a slow boil (beginning those first stages of toffee), add your orange juice, let simmer for a few minutes, then add your marmalade – stir in and let simmer for a further few minutes.

When cake is cooked and out of oven, turn out onto a serving plate, prick bottom (which is now top) with a skewer, let cool for a little bit. Then pour over your syrup, and decorate with your remaining orange rind.

Serve with Chantilly cream (whipped cream with a touch of icing sugar + vanilla essence or some sort of liqueur if your feeling extra naughty). Pull your chosen dessert wine out of the fridge, and enjoy!