The best way to use fruit

Posted on May 10, 2006 by Aun

When I was young, my mother would often make banana cake for me and my brother. Her version was wonderfully moist, buttery and delicious; it was and still is one of my favorite childhood treats. These days, though, my wonderful wife S makes it for me. My mother has long since hung up her apron. The odd thing is that while I love banana cake, I’m not really a big fan of bananas. At least not in their natural state. Batter one and deep fry it and I’ll happily gobble it up. Purée it and use it to flavor a batch of gelato and I’m a happy camper. But give me a raw banana and I’ll probably leave it on my plate. I guess I’m kind of weird. I like fruit flavors but don’t like most fruits.

Another fruit-flavored cake my mother would make–a variation of her banana cake–was a lovely aromatic and light orange cake. She didn’t make this cake, however (and much to my chagrin), as often as she did the banana version. I like oranges you see. It’s one of the few fruits I enjoy eating. And I love orange-flavored foods. Whether it’s sorbet or duck, I have a thing for foods enhanced with this sweet, tangy and sticky fruit. Recently, I’ve discovered an amazing orange cake. PS Café‘s flourless orange cake is stunning. Served warm with some vanilla ice cream, it’s one of the reasons I keep returning to this super trendy restaurant. I’ve also learnt that it’s incredibly (some might say ‘frighteningly’) rich. Over a recent dinner, one of the café’s owners let slip that each of these deliciously moist and tasty cakes uses 20 egg yolks.

Wanting to create a slightly healthier orange cake at home, I recently poured through S’s and my ever-expanding cookbook collection. After reading a few recipes in a number of different books, and partly because I had just met the man, I decided to try Damien Pignolet’s Serious Orange Cake recipe, from his sexy cookbook French. The cake–especially (well, mostly) because S helped out–was relatively easy to put together and was really delicious. The syrup, spiked with Cointreau, that is soaked into the cake gives it a yummy, slightly moist texture. Because I’m a sucker for all things “à la mode”, I follow PS Café’s service style and serve it slightly warm (i.e. nuked in the microwave for a few seconds) and with some of S’s fantastic homemade ice creams.

Serious Orange Cake
1 orange, weighing around 150g, washed well and diced, pips removed
200g sugar
3 eggs
150g self-raising flour, sifted
a small pinch of salt
180g butter, melted and cooled a little

orange syrup
60ml orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1-2 tablespoons Cointreau

Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Grease and line a 24cm diameter springform cake tin with baking paper. Place the diced orange in the bowl of a food processor with the sugar and process until very smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add the flour and salt and combine for 30 seconds. With the machine running, add the butter all at once. Transfer to the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes; test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer–it should emerge clean and dry.

While the cake is cooking, make the orange syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the orange and lemon juices and the sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the Cointreau to taste and simmer for 1 minute more.

When the cake is ready, remove from the oven but leave in the tin to cool for 5-10 minutes. Use a bamboo skewer to pierce the cake all over, then slowly spoon the syrup over the cake and leave until completely cool before turning out.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Chubby Hubby May 10, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    Deborah: Hiya, thanks for dropping in. Wow, you’ll be taking a class with chef Pignolet? That’s great. As for my ice cream choice, I was very boring. Ate it with Vanilla, which is actually my favorite flavor.

    Anonymous: Yum, coffee-plunged orange cake. Now, that sounds great. Thanks on the kind words on the new header.

    Anonymous2: We didn’t.

    Umami: Hell, try it. If it brings out more flabor, why not?

    Rosa: Thanks!

  2. Prom May 10, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    I’d like to see the flourless version if you have the recipe. I can’t eat flour so anything without it is healthier for me!

  3. Anita May 11, 2006 at 12:08 am

    Hello! Hmm, I’m kind of like you in that I’m not a big fan of bananas in their raw state either – but in baking they’re fine!
    The citron cake looks wonderful, paired with ice cream must have been perfect!

  4. andrea May 11, 2006 at 2:53 am

    yum!

    love the new header, great cartoon

    who is the artist?

  5. Chubby Hubby May 11, 2006 at 9:15 am

    Prom: Hi, sorry, they never gave me the full recipe.

    Anita: Lovely to meet a like minded person. It was lovely with the ice cream.

    Andrea: Hey rock star gal… I drew it ;-p

  6. The UnProfessional Chef May 11, 2006 at 9:59 am

    mmmn, I love orange cake! Will try this out over the long holiday weekend :) thanks!

  7. Frederico May 11, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Wow.. that recipe looks surprisingly simple! Might just give it a go sometime… as my baking debut… haha

  8. andrea May 11, 2006 at 12:04 pm

    yeah! I knew I recognized that style! i love it, very funny and very apt! woo-hoo!

    dude, we’re filming a video next weekend, too bad you’re across the world and can’t be in it.

  9. Liz May 11, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    Love orange cake and everything orange in flavour. Will try your recipe.

  10. mf May 11, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    hello CH, i’ve always been a fan of ur blog, and juz lately i thought of a random question.. Hope it’s not too much trouble.. Do you eat instant noodles?

    Given all the heavenly food you eat, it’ll juz be nice to know if you eat “earth” food as well.. =)

  11. mae May 11, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    The orange and cointreu combination sounds delicious indeed.

  12. Chubby Hubby May 12, 2006 at 12:24 am

    Unprofessional chef: Great. I’d love to know how it turns out for you.

    Fred: Good luck buddy.

    Andrea: :-) maybe I should develop a whole Chubby Hubby cartoon strip, eh? Video… that’s awesome! Have a great time.

    Liz: I wish it was my recipe. It’s Damien Pignolet’s. :-)

    MF: Actually, I’m a huge, huge fan of instant Maggi Mee Goreng! Topped with a fried egg, it’s the perfect late night snacl.

    Mae: Very.

  13. Bettina May 12, 2006 at 1:54 am

    This is the recipe for the orange cake from my youth, from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Aside from a few variations, it actually looks quite similar to yours.

    http://twospoonsplease.com/archives/2006/02/orange_cake/

    You have lovely photography, BTW.

  14. *kel May 12, 2006 at 7:00 am

    man, i’ve got to recreate this cake. Only that I don’t have a springform pan. Wonder if it’ll still work. I love all things with orange too :) Dark choc with orange bits… today I got a marmalade made with 70 percent organic orange and the rest honey. it taste totally YUMM!

  15. Vanessa May 12, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    my friend made a similar cake, using a recipe from her mother, for a dinner party. after most of the cake had been doled out, guess who polished off the rest of it? and needless to say i was ready to lap up the syrup from the platter.

    well, maybe someone gave me a spoon…

  16. andrea May 12, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    you should develop a whole cartoon strip, seriously! I think that would be really fun! : 0 )

  17. Yasmin May 13, 2006 at 12:09 am

    Gorgeous cake….and thanks for posting the modified recipe. 20 egg yolks…I can’t even imagine. One of my best friends is like you: she loves fruit flavor, but don’t go near her with the real thing! She’s love this cake…for some reason it sounds good to me with some kind of sorbet…something flowery maybe?? rose?

  18. bea at La Tartine Gourmande May 13, 2006 at 12:21 am

    These are the kind of cakes that I love, not being a big cake fan. Moist and fruity. Very nice looking! 20 egg yolks! incroyable! Better pretend that you never heard that! ;-)

  19. Anonymous May 14, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    i’ve become quite a fan of ur blog! i love to eat, but i cant cook, nor do i blog, hence alwaz drooling over ur v well-taken food pics…
    oh i do not like fruits in their natural states too heh

  20. de mighty shiva May 20, 2006 at 12:09 am

    yo yo i tried de cake. ITS WONDERFUL. thank you thank you. now i jus need to convince my frens its yummy (not poison) … will post de pic on my blog :)

  21. Bill Belew May 22, 2006 at 11:51 pm

    I couldn’t agree more that the best wake to eat fruit is baked… in a dessert! The banana cake your mother made sounds delicious. I’m not a big fan of bananas either, but I like them in muffins and breads, so I’m going to give cake a go. Thanks!

  22. Anna May 27, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    The cake sounds great. My boyf makes one similar. It’s interesting how you only like baked fruit or fruit flavouring. Until a few years ago I had never met anyone who didn’t like fruit before, then I met a guy who can’t stand it in any way, shape or form. I’ve deemed him a fruitophob and recently interviewed him about it. Even after talking with him about it, I still can’t quite understand. I love fruit so much – in any form. Anyway, just in case you’re interested you can see our conversation on my blog: http://morselsandmusings.blogspot.com/2006/05/tims-story-life-of-fruitophob.html

  23. Anonymous May 30, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    Hi!
    S’s homemade ice cream you wrote about sounds delicious. I’ve been experimenting with homemade ice cream myself but it always turns out a tad icy. I was wondering if you would share her ice cream recipe and brand of ice cream maker? Thanks a million…

  24. S May 31, 2006 at 10:05 am

    Hi Anon

    can you please email me at s@chubbyhubby.net? Thanks.

  25. MyMuzingz June 11, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    Hi CH,

    Thanks for the lead on this. I was pretty inspired and taken by how easy this recipe is.

    I just baked it at home this afternoon (albeit with minor adjustments and tweaks), and it is yummy!

    The orange skin really lent the cake a bitter-sweet tang.

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