Make Ahead

Keeping Cake with Middle-Eastern Flavors

March  8, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by Windischgirl
  • Makes 1 9.5-inch Kugelhupf pan
Author Notes

One of my most-prized possessions--at least with regard to baking--is a fading, wrinkled photocopy of a three-page article from Gourmet magazine, circa 1972. Entitled "Cakes for Keeping," these recipes by Shirley Sarvis are homey classics best served as a casual breakfast or mid-day snack with coffee or tea. Think Tea Time in Britain, Fika in Sweden, Pause in Germany. It's a custom I think we should revive!
Best of all, keeping cakes benefit from a few days' marination, for the full flavors to develop.
Inspired by Ms. Sarvis, my love of Middle Eastern foods, and the contents of my pantry, I developed this variation, which I promptly mailed aff to Swedish friends. I heard it didn't last the week.
Have all ingredients at room temperature before starting. —Windischgirl

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup Pistachios, divided
  • 1 cup Butter plus more to grease the pan
  • 1/2 pound Cream cheese
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon Orange blossom water
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Semolina
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Saffron, crushed
  • 1/2 cup Diced dried apricots--pick moist ones!
  • 2/3 cup Ground Poppy seeds
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon Orange flower water
  1. Grease well the inside of the Kugelhupf pan (I use coconut oil, but butter works as well). Grind half the pistachios and use them to dust the inside of the greased pan, coating all surfaces well. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Break the eggs into a bowl, add the saffron to moisten, and add in the vanilla extract and first amount of orange blossom water. With the mixer at low speed, slip the eggs into the creamed mixture one at a time. Increase speed after each addition until fully incorporated and fluffy.
  4. Toss the apricots with a Tablespoon of the flour until coated. Sift together the remaining flour, semolina, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, a quarter at a time. Stop the machine, scrape down the sides, and mix again until the flour us fully incorporated.
  5. Coarsely chop the remaining pistachios, and fold into the batter along with the apricots.
  6. In a separate bowl mix the ground poppy seed, sugar, orange zest, and orange flower water, crushing any lumps.
  7. Spoon a third of the batter into the prepared pan and top with half the poppyseed mixture. Add another third of the batter, and top with the remaining poppyseeds. Spoon on the remaining batter, covering the poppyseeds completely. Rap the pan firmly on the counter two or three times to eliminate any air pockets and smooth the top.
  8. Bake the cake for 1 1/2-2 hours; start checking for doneness after an hour by sticking a skewer into the deepest part and checking if it comes out clean. If the cake Browns too quickly, tent the top with foil.
  9. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then carefully unmold and let cool completely on the rack, broad side down.
  10. Once cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Cake also freezes well.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Windischgirl
  • AntoniaJames

2 Reviews

Windischgirl April 20, 2016
Thanks, AJ! Your compliment is a gift. I hope you'll try the cake.
AntoniaJames April 20, 2016
Whoa, this sounds great! So inventive, so appealing. And intriguing. ;o)