Orange cake with pistachios and poppy seeds is easy to make, and a perfect celebration of winter, when the markets fill up with all sorts of oranges and tangerines from Sikkim, Darjeeling, Punjab, Nagpur and even Malta.
To really drive in the flavour, in this cake we have taken a multi-pronged approach to orange infusion. We have added a whole boiled orange, just as many Italian lemon cakes do, besides adding the zest of an orange to the cake batter. In addition, we have borrowed a technique from the world of bartending to make an _oleo saccharum_ with orange peels, which then goes into the orange syrup that is drizzled on top of the freshly baked cake while it is still hot. This is going to be the most "orangey" orange cake you have had.
This cake is based on the template of a 'pound' cake, meaning that it is not an extremely airy and light 'sponge' cake, but because we have used a tiny bit of baking powder and soda, and also some yoghurt, the cake turns out softer than a traditional pound cake.
💕 This is adapted from a recipe on Sugar Geek Show by Liz Marek. If you love baking you must follow her channel. She has some of the most reliable and precise recipes on the internet, along with thorough explanations of the whys and hows.
For the cake
- 225 g all-purpose flour (maida)
- 25 g corn starch
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 125 g softened butter (at room temperature)
- 60 g vegetable oil
- 5 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 50 g yoghurt
- 250 g powdered sugar
- 3 g salt
- 2 large oranges
- 10 g poppy seeds
- 20 g pistachios
For the drizzle
- 25 g orange peels
- 100 g sugar
- 80 ml orange juice
- 20 ml lime juice
Step 1: Prepare the drizzle
- Make oleo saccharum by mixing together orange peels and 50 g sugar. Muddle gently to release the oils. Mix well and allow it to marinate for 24 hours.
- In a saucepan, add orange and lime juices, along with 50 g more sugar and the oleo saccharum.
- Boil on medium heat for a couple of minutes until you have a thin syrup.
- Strain and set aside for later use.
Step 2: Bake the cake
- Blanch and peel pistachios and set them aside to cool.
- Lightly toast poppy seeds.
- Boil a whole orange for 20 minutes. When it's cool and safe to do so, blend it to a smooth pulp.
- Mix the orange pulp with the zest of an orange, vegetable oil, yoghurt and salt.
- Preheat your oven to 175°C. Grease the loaf tin with butter and coat evenly with flour.
- Sift maida, corn starch, baking soda and baking powder together, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar and beat until the batter is pale, light and airy (about 6 minutes).
- Add egss one at a time, waiting for an egg to be incorporated fully before adding the next. If you find the batter starting to curdle, add a couple of tablespoons of flour.
- Now add the orange pulp mixture and flour mixture in two parts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loft tin and bake at 175°C for 35 to 60 minutes, until a skewer inserted at the centre comes out clean, or when the centre registers 92 to 95°C on a thermometer.
- While the cake is still hot, poke holes in it with a skewer, and drizzle all of the orange and lime syrup we prepared earlier.
- Let the cake cool completely before unmoulding.