Special Nonexistent Furniture
03 February, 2015

Orange blossom cake with pistachio

Jono Fleming explores the 'naked cake' phenomenon and adds his own twist with the flavours of Morocco. 

When it comes to cakes, I know presentation can sometimes seem daunting, given all the perfection we see at boutique bakeries (and on Instagram). Don't worry – you'll love the new 'naked cake' trend. It's all about delicious cake, simply topped with icing but leaving the 'messy' side of the cake free to showcase colour and texture. No more perfect icing, people – embrace the mess!

I added Moroccan flavours to basic cake and icing recipes to add a bit of cultural zing. The floral flavour of the orange blossom is balanced out by the nutty pistachio, and the cardamom kick cuts through the sweetness of the sugar. Top with a sprinkling of nuts and pomegranate and you have a perfectly imperfect 'naked' cake.

Orange Blossom Cake 
Ingredients (for a single layer of cake):
1 cup self raising flour
½ cup caster sugar
125g softened butter
½ tsp baking powder
3 tbs orange blossom water
zest of one orange
100ml natural yoghurt
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put all the ingredients together in a large bowl and beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Pour the batter into a pregreased cake tin and place in the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked through (stick a knife through the centre and it should come out clean.) Set aside and allow to cool fully before icing.

Pistachio and Cardamom Buttercream
Ingredients (enough for one layer of cake)
3 tbs of raw pistachio nuts
1tsp cardamom
125g softened butter
1 ½ cups icing sugar
1 tbs milk
Handful of pomegranate and pistachios for decoration

In a blender or food processor blitz up the pistachio nuts to the consistency of a fine powder. Mix together the butter, icing sugar, milk, powdered nuts and cardamom with an electric mixer till the mixture is smooth.  The icing will soften in the mixing process so put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to allow it to firm up just slightly before icing the cake.

When icing the cake, make sure it's completely cooled otherwise the icing will just melt off. Being a 'naked' cake, you can just roughly spread the icing all over the top, and finish it off with a  sprinkle of pistachios and pomegranate for colour. If you want to, throw on a few edible flowers (available at good greengrocers) for an extra pretty touch!

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