So, I made this cake to take to a friends farewell party, his name is Brett Bacon.
Thus, this is a Bye Bye Bacon Cake. I thought it looked beautiful with the craggy, glistening pile of ginger praline piled high on the top... and then someone said the sliced figs looked like pickles. And now all I think about when I look at the picture above is pickles.
Well they aren't pickles, dickhead! They're figs. Last of the season figs that were quite disappointing to be honest, the floods have all but ruined this years crop, the colour of the flesh was dull and they were a little watery. Luckily the oven worked it's magic and turned them jammy, sticky and sweet. Just the way I like them.
This cake is a cross between a souffle and a cheesecake. It rises in the oven, almost to overflowing, and then subsides like a deflated balloon when you sit it on the counter to cool. The crumb (if you can call it a crumb) is luscious and soft with a slip of lemon and a few drops of orange blossom water. The ginger praline, another way to use up the rest of the bag of crystallized ginger you have in your pantry, gives it a kick and a mouthful of crunch that such a delicate cake should always keep in its back pocket. The last shards of praline were picked up to be sucked on in between slurps of beer, in the most lady-like way possible of course.
In the last couple of weeks I have booked tickets to the USA for a two week holiday in September with one of my best friends. We're heading to LA, San Fran and NYC and I can't wait! I want to go now! We have also all decided to go on a camping trip for Easter, three hours down the coast on the beach. All I want to do is catch a big slippery fish and cook it over a driftwood fire, it must be the cave woman in me, the same cave woman who is calmly excited about Autumnal cooking; lamb shanks and beef cheek ragu.
I'm putting away the popsicle moulds and dusting off the stew pots.
Turkish Yogurt Cake with Figs and Ginger Praline
adapted from Claudia Roden's Arabesque
I added the orange blossom water and the figs to the recipe, I figured I might as well go all the way with the Turkish theme and it really worked. If you can find better quality figs than the ones I used, they might be nice fresh, quartered and piled up on top with the praline. If you can't find figs at all, this cake would also be lovely with stewed rhubarb. The praline was a lightbulb idea that I kind of made up, i think it would also work if you added the ginger to the sugar while it is boiling on the stove, they might melt into the mixture really nicely. If you try it let me know how it goes!
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons plain flour, sifted
1 2/3 cups full fat Greek yogurt (half fat is too watery)
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons orange blossom water (available from health food shops)
3 fresh figs (I used green but use black too if you can find them) sliced from the top down
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Cream the egg yolks with the caster sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix until combined. Add the yogurt, lemon zest and juice and mix until combined. Add orange blossom water, taste, and add more if necessary. Mix well.
Whisk egg whites using electric beaters in a clean dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into yogurt mixture until combined. Take care not to over-mix as all the air will leave the whites.
Grease a 9 inch spring-form cake tin with butter, and line the bottom with parchment. Pour mixture into the cake tin and arrange the fig slices on top. Bake cake in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until the top is browned. The cake will rise like a souffle but will subside when removed from the oven. Let cool while you make the praline.
For the praline, spread the chopped candied ginger on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium to high heat. Do not stir the mixture, but brush down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water to stop the sugar crystallizing. Boil the sugar for about 8 minutes or until the sugar turns a light caramel colour. Be careful not to let it get too dark as it can burn very easily. Pour caramel in a pool over the chopped ginger. Let the praline completely cool until hard. Using your hands, crack up the praline into shards and arrange in the middle of the cooled cake.
Serve at room temperature. Best on day of baking.