I’ve become obsessed with cake and especially with tea cakes. Not once in a while. Not weekly. Every Day.
Last week I started with the orange-lemon-almond-olive oil cake from Orangette to bring to a friend’s home for dinner. Alongside, I made the same cake with lemons only, for our home and as an “experiment.” Lemon cake was very lemony, but we ate it in gobs any way, and it was actually really good by day 3, by which time all bitter lemon flavor from too many lemons in the cake had softened into the almonds and olive oil.
Next, a hazelnut brown butter cake vanilla bean cake for a friend that was less successful from Smitten Kitchen – really delicious nutty flavors but the cake called for too little flour which resulted in an overly moist crumb. I planned to make it again, this time with a real whole vanilla bean and more flour.
Then, a bake sale at school – for which two large cakes were baked. Banana chocolate chip and orange olive oil, this time all flour no almond and equally good. The banana cake made Vasisht long for one of his own and his writing project in school called for one. So, in the interests of research, we made it again – this time I remembered to use parchment paper at the bottom and bake the cake for longer at a slightly lower temperature, which yielded a moist, very banana and chocolate evenly browned cake. Best eaten warm and straight out of the oven.
In the middle of all this, a recipe for pistachio cake secretly made its way in. I couldn’t help myself – I had read the recipe on Orangette, and could not stop thinking about it. Like the author, I seemed to be not rational when contemplating pistachio cake, who had found this pistachio pound cake recipe in Bon Appetit magazine. And a pistachio cake with three types of citrus, including limes, lemons and pixie tangerines that I had sitting on my counter, and softened butter with lots of eggs – it was only a matter of — hours — before I succumbed. It was a successful tea cake – and for better or worse that seemed to be my only criterion – how does this cake taste with chai?