This past November, my sister-in-law brought me to Ballymaloe House while I was visiting her in Ireland. I’ve been over to Ireland many times in the past 30 years, but somehow never made it to Ballymaloe. It’s lovely.
We didn’t take a cooking class, but did get to peek inside the lovely inn and have coffee in the cafe. The gift shop and garden on the grounds were both impressive.
I have been making recipes from the Ballymaloe House Cookbook for years. My sister-in-law mentioned that her family’s favorite cake for birthdays is the Tunisian Orange Cake from the book. I had never tried it, but was so happy when I did. This citrus-syrup infused cake has a wonderful texture from the breadcrumbs and ground almonds. It’s like taking a bite of sunshine with each forkful.
Tunisian Orange Cake
1/3 cup (50g) stale white breadcrumbs
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (100g) ground almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
200ml sunflower oil
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of half a lemon
Citrus Syrup (recipe follows)
1. Line the base of a round 8-inch (20cm) wide cake pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour the tin.
2. Mix together breadcrumbs, caster sugar, ground almonds and baking powder.
3. Whisk the sunflower oil with the eggs then pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in both zests.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and place into a cold oven.
5. Turn the oven on and set to 350°F/180°C.
6. Bake cake for 50 to 60 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Allow to cool for five minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.
7. Make the citrus syrup after cake is removed from the oven.
8. While the cake is still warm, prick it several times with a fork. Pour the syrup slowly over the cake so that it soaks in.
9. Arrange the cinnamon stick and cloves on the top to decorate.
10. Serve the cake with crème fraîche, greek yogurt or whipped cream, if you like.
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup (75g) granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1. Mix all of syrup ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan.
2. Bring mixture slowly to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely.
3. Simmer for three minutes.
Recipes from Ballymaloe Cookery Book by Darina Allen
This beautiful tune from Belfast-based artist Peter McVeigh makes me tear up every time. Sometimes we just want someone to take care of us and take comfort that they will always be there, right?
Bring me all your joy your sorrows
This time tomorrow
I’ll still be yours”
Check out Peter McVeigh on Bandcamp where you can buy his music.