Monday, 3 November 2014

Orange Yoghurt Cake with Pomegranate Syrup

This is such an unusual but delicious tasting cake and one that can be served as a dessert or eaten as a delicious treat in its own right. There is something so exotic about pomegranates, and perhaps, it is just me, but I think that they look so sensual and beautiful. Pomegranates are frequently used in Middle Eastern cookery where they are regularly employed in both sweet and savoury dishes. Although they were once hard to source in this country, they are now readily available to buy, especially in the Autumn. I just love them and the slightly decadent air they lend to those dishes in which they are used.
 
This cake is unusual in that it contains no butter but rather, richness is added by way of the inclusion of thick Greek style yoghurt. Now ... as anyone who knows me will testify ... I LOVE butter and it is therefore surprising that I didn't miss it in this cake. The cake still has a depth of flavour and a certain richness despite the fact that no butter is used. This makes it a perfect cake for those who want a little sweet treat but are trying to watch their saturated fat intake. The inclusion of the yoghurt and also some orange zest and also orange juice in the syrup gives the cake a real freshness; this is a cake to enliven even the most jaded palate.
 
As with most of the recipes I favour, this cake and the accompanying syrup are relatively simple to make. You don't absolutely have to make the syrup; you could instead just top the finished cake simply with some pomegranate seeds and a few slivered hazelnuts for added texture but ultimately, I do recommend that you make the syrup because it is SO tasty.
 

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 large eggs
225g caster sugar
225g Greek-style yoghurt (I used Glenisk)
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g ground hazelnuts (or ground almonds)
Syrup:
Juice of 2 oranges
100g caster sugar
1 tblsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
Juice 1 pomegranate
To finish:
Seeds of 1 pomegranate


Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan Oven 150C/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm round, deep spring-form cake tin with baking parchment, place on a baking tray and set aside.
2. Place the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer, beat together until the mixture is pale and has thickened (about 7-10 minutes).
3. Add the yoghurt and orange zest to the egg mixture and gently stir through using a large metal spoon. Sieve the flour and baking powder together and fold these into the yoghurt/egg mixture along with the ground hazelnuts/almonds. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, level the surface and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until the cake is well-risen and a pale golden brown colour and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (NOTE: check the cake after 25 minutes and if it is browning too much cover the tin with some aluminium foil to stop it burning).

4. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin whilst you make the syrup.
Syrup:
5. Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring up to the boil. Allow to bubble and reduce by about half or until the liquid is quite syrupy.
To finish:
6. Prick the cooling cake all over with a thin skewer and gently pour over the syrup. Allow to cool completely and then remove from the tin. Scatter over some fresh pomegranate seeds and serve.


Serves 8-10.