Today I have a real treat – a guest recipe! This is a recipe from a friend of mine. It is a traditional Assyrian cake and it’s been in her family for generations, so I am very fortunate to have her share with with me. But I must say, after tasting this cake the first time she made it for me, I HAD to know the recipe. I understand why it has been in her family for so long; its a beautiful cake. It has the earthy, deep, hearty flavor of a tried and true recipe. The cake has a sweet crusty exterior and a spongy, vibrant interior. It even looks wonderful!
This cake is a memory from better days. Days when warm spices and hot drinks kept you snug. It’s the perfect combination of toasty, nuttiness and bright notes of citrus. This cake would be a lovely addition to any brunch, paired with coffee. I must say, from experience, it is also incredible after a meal with a cold glass of milk!
There are a couple of “tricks” to making this cake just right. Firstly, my friend tells me you must have a good, sturdy bundt pan, preferably a thick-gauge one. Secondly, each egg need to be fully incorporated before adding the next. It is important to have them at room temperature, as well. Don’t skip on these simple steps! They will make the difference between pretty good cake and an amazing one.
My friend has also wavered between using wheat and while flour. I’ve tried her recipe with both. Personally, I like the wheat flour because I think it complements the natural nuttiness of the cake. I believe my friend likes white flour. I will leave it to your discretion.
Orange Cake (Cakekit’ Pertikala)
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup unsalted melted butter (1 ½ sticks)
1 cup milk (room temperature)
3 eggs (room temperature)
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
2 ½ cups flour (preferably cake flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder (reduce by a pinch)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins (preferably golden raisins)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour Bundt cake pan. Mix sugar and butter with electric mixer until fluffy. Next, add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg fully before adding the next. Add milk, orange and lemon zest, vanilla extract, Grand Marnier, orange and lemon juice until incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix thoroughly. Finally, fold in walnuts and raisins.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 1 hour or until the cake is brown in color and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool before slicing.