I have an important announcement to make. My friend, Rebecca from Figs and Pigs, got nominated for Food Blogger of the Year for the Blogosphere Awards 2017! Her food blog is laden with delicious recipes and gorgeous photographs (please go check her website if you haven’t already) and it would mean so much if you could take a moment to cast your votes for the awards by the 22nd May 2017 here. Thank you!
Meanwhile, I have finally given up waiting for the lilacs to come forth in my garden and instead found some lovely specimens whilst walking around Bakewell with Lucy and Djamo over the weekend. For some reason or other, the lilacs here seem to have come around rather slowly (like not-even-close-to-showing-any-blossom-stems slow). I still have my fingers crossed that they will make an appearance this year, especially since the side path next to my flat is usually covered in them and it is truly a sight to see. But, there are other places to find them, so all is not lost!
On the subject of lilacs, I absolutely love the fact that so many foodies are incorporating seasonal flowers into recipes with lilac being centre stage at the moment. I have seen a few recipes as of late that have completely inspired me to create a couple of recipes that use these fragrant blossoms of my own. Last year I made some lemon sugared dusted bomboloni with a rich lilac crème pâtissèrie, which were lovely. But this year I have been inspired by Aimee, from Twiggstudios, who made the most beautiful buckwheat sponge with strawberries in lilac syrup I had ever seen and I fell in love with how Annika, from Conifères et Feuillus (Another beautiful blog! Please check it out!) used lilac to adorn her honey infused labneh with berries. So keep your eyes peeled!
For this recipe, I really wanted to pair the lilac with another ingredient as opposed to simply being a “stand-alone” recipe. So this cake was born. It is sticky, moist, and oh so delicious, especially with the grapefruit on the caramelised top (think seville marmalade). There is a balance here between the sweet and floral, and the bitter citrus, which I absolutely adore as well.
Cooking time: 15 minutes plus cooling time
Makes: approximately 1 1/2 cups
2 cups lilac blossoms
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
Begin by making the lilac syrup. Place the sugar and water into a pan and allow to come to a boil. Add the lilac blossoms and allow to boil for a couple of minutes before taking off the heat and adding the lemon juice. Allow to infuse for 5-10 minutes before straining the blossoms into a sealable jar. Allow to cool completely.
Pink Grapefruit Semolina Cake
Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours plus cooling
Makes: 1x8inch cake
4 slices of pink grapefruit
1 cup plain flour
1 cup semolina
2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp sea salt
1/2tsp cardamom, ground
1 1/4cups caster sugar
1tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
zest of 1 pink grapefruit
Pink Grapefruit Caramel Syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup lilac sugar (recipe here)
2tbsp pink grapefruit juice
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan-assisted) 350ºF. Place the ingredients for the caramel into a saucepan over a low heat. When the sugar has completely dissolved, removing from the heat and pour into a cake tin.
Slice 3 of the 4 grapefruit slithers in half and place them around the bottom edges of the tin over the caramel. Place the last slice in the middle. Set aside.
Next, sieve all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix all the wet ingredients into another. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour into cake tin and place in the oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Whilst the cake is still hot (and in its tin), pour the lilac syrup over the top and allow to cool slightly before removing from the cake tin. Can be eaten immediately, else allow to cool completely before serving (Note: I’ve found that the pith of the grapefruit isn’t as bitter on the second day).
Eat within 3 days.
Thank you for reading.