Hello friends! Finally, after almost 4 attempts at trying to style and photograph this cake, I can safely say that I am over the moon about how this shoot turned out. Initially, I poached the rhubarb and poured them over the top of the orange blossom labneh along with its ruby coloured juices. But the perfectionist in me protested, repulsed by its rustic (politest word I can think of) appearance. All your wonderfully heart-warming and encouraging comments on Instagram about my insecurities as a photographer inspired me to give it one more try before simply settling for the photographs I deemed to be at most second best. And I am so glad I did.
Since this is a deep dish poppyseed cake, the contents of this dessert is a dark grey, almost charcoal colour. It is moody, sophisticated, and gloriously feminine (at least to me). Contrast was needed to aid in showcasing its beautiful appearance, so an attempt was made to use a lighter palette for the background instead of the old kitchen table that I usually work on. How a simple change can refreshingly shake up your photographs.
The cake itself is nutty and moorish, with hints of orange blossoms, and a tangy tartness from the rhubarb. Perhaps for many of you, the first (and only, in my case) time I had ever really used poppy seeds in the kitchen, was to garnish bread roll tops and inside lemon and poppyseed cakes. In all honesty, I could never really taste them, but took immense pleasure from their texture. This cake takes the whole experience to a completely new level. I love it!
Happy Monday, guys!
Sweet Orange Blossom, Rhubarb & Poppyseed Cake
adapted from: Eat Me Blog
Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours, plus overnight
Makes: 1 x 8inch deep cake
3tbsp caster sugar
2 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cottage cheese
2 1/2 cups poppy seeds, ground
3/4 cup fine semolina
1/4 cup + 2tbsp labneh (substitute for greek yoghurt)
100ml heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
Orange Blossom Labneh Topping
3/4 cup labneh (substitute for greek yoghurt)
1tsp orange blossom water
8tbsp confectionary sugar, plus extra to decorate
2-3 rhubarb stalks (cut into desired lengths)
1tbsp toasted almonds (to decorate)
Begin by placing parchment paper onto the bottom of the cake tin and around the inner sides (note: I used an 8 inch round cake tin that is 3 inches deep). Cut the rhubarb to fit the inside of the cake tin and place onto a plate for later use. Set the cake tin aside.
Place the poppy seeds into a coffee grinder, and grind until roughly ground. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Now, make the cake base by placing all the ingredients into a bowl and mixing with your hands until a slightly sticky dough is formed. Dust a surface with a little flour and roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Place into the cake tin, ensuring that the edges are covered in the dough (cutting any excess off if need be). Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or until needed.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan-assisted) 325ºF. Place all the ingredients for the poppyseed filling into a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir continuously until the filling has thickened (this may take approximately 10 minutes). Take off the heat. Remove the cake tin from the refrigerator and pour in the poppyseed filling. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top.
Whilst the cake is in the oven, make the orange blossom labneh by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. When the poppyseed cake is ready, pour the labneh over the top of the cake and placing the rhubarb on top. Place back into the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before wrapping in cling film and placing in the refrigerator (note: do not remove from the cake tin). Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. When ready, remove the cake from the tin and scatter with toasted almonds and confectionary sugar, if desired. Serve immediately. Eat within 4 days.
Thank you for reading.