If there was a Portuguese version of the book driving over lemons it would be renamed driving over oranges.
I am one of the few people in our region of Portugal that doesn’t have any orange trees but I certainly have no shortage of oranges when the season is right thanks to my wonderful friends and neighbours.
Needless to say, after making the usual marmalade and drinking copious amounts of freshly squeezed juice for breakfast, there is always a hunt for new ways to prepare this deliciously juicy fruit.
On one of my forays into the great big internet cookbook I came across this recipe from Cookie + Kate. As soon as I saw the mention of poppy seeds I knew I had to try the recipe. I just love the texture these little seeds create. I was won over even more by the use of olive oil instead of butter. Olive oil is another product that we have no shortage of, so this recipe ticked two very useful boxes.
Made healthier by the wholemeal flour and using kefir instead of yogurt, it is indeed a lovely cake that will make a regular feature at teatime during orange harvest season.
ORANGE POPPY SEED POUND CAKE
200 g wholemeal flour
30 g poppy seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons zest
2fl.oz orange juice
150 g sugar
150 ml plain yogurt or kefir
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas 4. Generously butter and line the base of a 8 ½ by 4 ¼ by 2 ½-inch (2 lb) loaf pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt.
Pour the sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Rub the orange zest into the sugar until the sugar is orange and fragrant.
Whisk the yogurt and orange juice, eggs and vanilla into the sugar mixture.
When the mixture is well blended, gently whisk in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Switch to a spatula and fold in the oil, making sure it’s all incorporated. The batter will be shiny. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sides start to pull away from the sides of the pan; a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen. Unmold the cake by placing a large plate upside down over the loaf pan and carefully turning them over. Let the cake cool to room temperature right-side up.