Citrus and Saffron Loaf Cake with Orange Blossom Drizzle

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A wet and sweet delicacy enriched with exotic flavors and drizzled with a fragrant orange blossom syrup. With a bit of Palestina, a bit of España, and a bit of of love, this cake represents the flavors of my upbringing. Palestinian citrus and orange blossom water paired with rich Spanish saffron and you have got a fusion dessert like no other. Moist, decadent, and full of Mediterranean flavors, this cake must be eaten slowly, with good company, and a fine cup of tea.

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INGREDIENTS/ MAKES 10-12 SLICES

1 1/2 cups (200 gr.) all-purpose flour, sifted
1  teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup (200 gr.) sugar
1 stick (110 gr.) butter, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
zest 1 lemon (2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 1 orange (about 3 teaspoons)
generous pinch of saffron
1/2 cup (100 gr.) sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla or seeds of half a vanilla pod

METHOD:

1. Soak saffron in 2 teaspoons of hot water for at least 1 hour to release its color and flavor. A pinch of saffron will go a long way.

2. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease a 23×13 cm. (9×5 inch) loaf pan with butter and then line with parchment paper.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and mix together to combine the ingredients. In a separate large bowl, cream together the melted butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With an electric mixer, blend in the eggs, 1 at a time, just until well combined and creamy (for about 1 minute in total.) Add the lemon and orange zest, lemon juice, vanilla, saffron, and sour cream to the egg mixture and whisk until creamy.

4. Fold the flour into the wet mixture with a baking paddle or wooden spoon just until the cake batter is smooth. *Be sure to not over mix the batter as it will result in a tough cake. Then, spread the batter evenly over your prepared cake tin.

5. Bake for 50-55 minutes until golden or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Drizzle with orange blossom syrup (recipe below). Enjoy!

Orange Blossom Syrup: 

1 cup (235 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon orange blossom water

METHOD:

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the sugar is fully dissolved. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before drizzling over the cake.

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