Most people are watching the Super Bowl as I type. But instead of making chili and guacamole this evening, I threw a brunch this morning. Well before Beyonce rocked the halftime show and a blackout darkened the field (Oreos anyone?), four lovely ladies knocked on my door, arms full of food.
It all started in November with crowd-sourcing recipe site Food52, their second cookbook, and a give-away. I saw an announcement that the first forty people to sign up to host potlucks celebrating the book would receive free books and some other goodies. With a guest list of cooking friends in mind, I offered up my home to other Boston-area Food52-ers and secured the freebies. Four months later, we met and we ate.
Jenn walked in first with a blue Le Creuset pot of roasted carrot soup that we set on the stove to reheat. Megan, a friend of mine from high school, showed up with a bottle of Veuve and an apology for not being able to prepare a dish. (Full time job plus working husband plus two boys? No apology necessary, Megan.) Jenn chopped up some thyme in the kitchen while I reached around her to grab silverware and dishes and glasses that Megan set out on the table. We started in on the cheese and pears.
Another knock on the door, and I took coats from Christine who had driven down from Portland and her friend Elizabeth. Christine brought the nibbles – chevre devils and blue cheese savouries - and her own contribution to the cookbook - decadent salted pumpkin caramels. Elizabeth presented a pan bagnat - salade Nicoise in sandwich form.
I lit a fire and we filled our plates, sitting around my coffee table and chatting. Cheers to new friends.
So, the game just ended. Let’s celebrate with cake. Let’s mourn with cake. Let’s all eat cake.
Almond cake with orange flower water
Adapted from Food 52′s second cookbook, this is a pretty classic yogurt cake, enriched with almond meal and soaked in an orange flower syrup. I made my own almond meal by pulsing almonds in a food processor. I skipped the syrup and instead added orange zest to the cake batter and replaced the vanilla with orange flower water. I used Greek yogurt because it was what I had, but next time I’ll use regular because the cake didn’t rise as much as I thought it would and was a bit crumbly. I also think I topped the batter with too many sliced almonds, weighing the cake down. No worries, I’ll be making the cake again.
Makes one 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 C 2% plain yogurt (original recipe called for full fat)
- 1 C sugar
- 1/3 C vegetable oil
- 1 t orange flower (blossom) water
- 1 orange for zest
- 1/8 t salt
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 baking soda
- 1 C flour
- 1 C almond meal
- 1/3 C sliced almonds
Prep. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Great a 9×5-inch loaf pan. I cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan to make it easier to lift out the cake.
Whisk. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, orange flower water, and orange zest.
Fold. Switch to a spatula. Mix in the salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the flours gradually to the wet ingredients, folding until just combined.
Sprinkle. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly over the top.
Bake. Bake for 50 minutes (the original recipe recommends 40 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.