Orange Blossom, Yoghurt & Cardamom Cake

I can't remember the last time I baked. Actually I can't remember the last time I've wanted to do anything creative. I don't know why but inspiration simply upped sticks and walked out the door. It's a strange thing going through a bit of a creative block, but that's what I've been struggling with. I haven't wanted to do anything at all. No photography, no writing, no baking, nothing. So what have I been doing? Well, I taught my last photography workshop of the year which was with a fantastic group of people and I always come away feeling happy that I can help pass on some knowledge to others who are beginning their photography journey.  I've been reading lots of novels (Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series), watching some great tv (Astronauts - Do You Have What It Takes, Stranger Things 2) as well as lots of classic movies. We bought a Now TV box with Sky Movies and have been watching one every night. Lots of movies are on there that we had on DVD too, so I've been donating those to the charity shop and it feels good to get rid of them. I've been working on a few decorating jobs that needed doing around the house including updating the stinky, moody teen's room. We've painted it a lovely mid grey shade which it gives it a really cozy feel. And now that he is almost six foot tall, it means the bunk beds have to go. I'm on the hunt for a nice daybed for him. We had a lovely half term week off with a visit to the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford to see Tim Peake's Soyuz capsule (which he returned in from the International Space Station) and to try out the Virtual Reality Space Descent experience, which was utterly fantastic. I've also chosen to have a month off social media as I know that doesn't help me at all with the creative process. Reading this article in The Guardian a few weeks ago also made me realise how overwhelming and damaging social media is. I've now added an app blocker to my phone to stop myself from picking it up and checking it so many times a day. By focusing on other things and taking a break from social media the urge to create has returned and I've got so many ideas running around my head. Hopefully the fog has lifted and I'm ready to write and pick up my camera again. I've a few posts to share on here over the next few weeks and I do hope you'll enjoy reading them. 

I appear to have got my baking groove back too. I've mentioned the wonderful cookbook Neighborhood by Hetty McKinnon (@arthurstreetkitchen) in a previous post and it is probably the best recipe book I've bought in years. Not only is every meal that we've made from it utterly delicious, the meals are all plant-based, they are simple and relatively quick to throw together. With sprouts coming into season now we tried her honey-roasted brussels sprouts with quinoa and lentil pilaf the other night and I can't say enough good things about it. There is a small section of sweets and puddings at the back of the book that I've been longing to try and today seemed like the perfect day to get back in the kitchen and bake a cake with the heady scent of cardamom and orange. And it's every bit as good as I'd hoped it would be. Enjoy. 

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Ingredients

250 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 free range eggs, beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 orange

3 tbs orange juice

250 g Greek yoghurt 

2 tsp orange blossom water

300 g self-raising flour

330 g granulated sugar

8 cardamom pods, crushed

2 tbs chopped pistachios 

for the icing:

125 cream cheese

90 g icing sugar

dash of vanilla extract 

2 tsp orange juice 

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Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. 

Grease and line a 22cm springform cake tin with baking paper. 

Combine the wet ingredients together - whisk the melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest, orange juice, yoghurt and orange blossom water in a bowl. 

In a second bowl, combine the self-raising flour, sugar and cardamom and mix well. 

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and fold gently until just combined. 

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about an hour until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely. 

Prepare the icing by whisking together the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and orange juice. Combine well until there are no lumps in the mixture and the icing is smooth in texture. 

Spread over the cooled cake and top with the chopped pistachios. 

Adapted from the recipe by Samantha Hillman in the Neighborhood cookbook by Hetty McKinnon.