A Tour Down the Eaten Path

Fool Me Once…Just Keep Foolin’ Me

I live with an eternal optimist.

Sometimes it makes me want to punch him in the face, deliver a spin kick & yell “Turn that into a positive Mother F*@!er!”. I realize however, that he’s rubbing off on me because every year at this time, Murph turns to me with a big grin and tells me that this is our year; he can feel it; this is the one; something great is just around the corner. 2010 2011 2012 2013 is the year it all comes together for us…and I believe him…every time…that optimistic a$$hole.

The thing is, he’s right. I’m beginning to think each great year, or at least my perception of its greatness, is due to this seed of idealistic faith that Murph plants in my mind as the past year comes to a close and a new one dawns. Whatever bumps in the road we encounter lose their potentially negative influence as we focus on how lucky we are to have each other, our health and the ability to do what we love. Simply put, gratitude keeps the darkness at bay. 

My New Year’s wish is that you have the influence of an eternal optimist.

All the best in 2013. It’s going to be a great year…I can feel it.

Olive Oil & Candied Orange Cake

For the Candied Orange and Syrup

3 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup orange blossom (or regular) honey

3/4 Tbls ground cardamom

1 medium orange, thinly sliced

Line a baking try with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium pot combine water, sugar, honey and cardamom. Stir liquid over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then add orange slices. Turn heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes; occasionally turning orange slices until they are tender and liquid has reduced to about 3 cups worth. Reserve the syrup and transfer orange slices to baking tray. 

For the Cake

1/2 cup olive oil plus more for brushing

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup semolina flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup sugar, divided in two

3 large eggs, separated

2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest 

1 tsp vanilla extract

Chopped toasted nuts of your choice for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl whisk both flours, baking powder, cardamom, salt and baking soda together. In a separate, larger bowl, beat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup olive oil for 1 minute using an electric mixer. Beat in the egg yolks then the flour mixture. Beat in yogurt, orange zest and vanilla. In a separate bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar until glossy, firm peaks form. Fold half of the egg whites into batter, folding the second half in until just blended (over mixing will cause loss of volume). Transfer to prepared cake pan; smooth top and bake about 25-29 minutes. Poke a toothpick in the centre of the cake to test; if it comes out clean remove cake from oven.

Poke small holes all over the hot cake and slowly pour 3/4 cup warm orange syrup over the top. When syrup is absorbed pour another 3/4 cup over the top. Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack.

Remove pan sides, arrange candied orange slices and top with nuts. Slice and serve cake. 

At last nights New Year’s Eve party I chose to top this flavourful pound cake with an orange oil-vanilla whip cream but a plain Greek yogurt with fresh mint would be lovely as well.

Serves 12

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine June 2011

Photos by Maggie Murphy

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