January. It was barrage of cold, wet and simply miserable days, coupled with a looming tax deadline. Thank god it is over (although with Trump now in office I don't think its going to be sunny days and rainbows anytime soon). So yes, January doesn't really give us much to look forward to, except for the bounty of citrus that brightness the dullest of months. Normally I am obsessed with blood oranges, buying them by the dozen and figuring out a use later, and that certainly hasn't changed. This year, however, I have become quite besotted by the bergamot. A more unusual, slightly trickier to find citrus, it tastes to me like a cross between a lemon, a lime and with a big dose of grapefruit and a hint of lavender. Its a little more sweet than lemons, although still sharp, very floral and just delicious. Over the last month I have used it in cocktails, in cookies and a couple of cakes and I have been completely won over. Thankfully my recipe testers seem to agree.
One of the things with being a food writer is that at most times you can find one, if not two recipes in the kitchen waiting to find a home. It is one of the questions that people seem fascinated with; where does all all the food I make go, other than the obvious of course! I bake and cook every day and there is a limit to what me and my flatmate can eat, as much as we try to deny that sometimes. So, on a regular basis, I become the Hansel and Gretel of cakes, leaving crumbs wherever I go, taking cakes to meetings, dropping off cookies to my neighbour and generally trying to get the food into other peoples mouths other than my own. This particular recipe ended up at a friends office. Whilst they are normally very thankful for the food, I don’t regularly hear much back in the terms of feedback, but this was different. They loved this cake, and whilst I had planned on sharing this eventually, be it in a book or a magazine, I thought it was too good to sit on so here it is. A Bergamot and Gin Bundt cake (yes another bundt, sorry but I don’t think I won't ever stop loving bundt cakes).
Bergamot and Gin Bunt Cake
500g golden caster sugar
zest of 2 large bergamot (see note below)
8 large eggs
250ml light olive oil
50ml bergamot juice
100g fine semolina
250g self raising flour
100g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp gin
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1-2 tbsp bergamot juice
200g icing sugar
To make the bundt cake preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan).
Place the sugar, bergamot zest and eggs into a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to whisk together until pale and light, about 5 minutes. Pour in the olive oil, yoghurt and bergamot juice and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining ingredients. Add the dry goods to the egg mixture and whisk together briefly to combine.
Spray a large bundt pan with oil (I find spray oil the most effective way to grease a bundt tin, almost guaranteeing it to release easily) and pour in the cake batter. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before carefully inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Whilst the cake is still warm you can brush with a bergamot syrup if you fancy but I actually dont think this cake needs it, it is perfectly moist and flavourful on its own.
For the glaze mix together the bergamot juice, gin, vanilla and icing sugar until a thick but pourable glaze is formed. Pour over the top of the cake and allow to drip down the sides of the cake. If you prefer you can sprinkle the cake with bergamot zest.
This keep keeps brilliantly, 3-4 days in a covered container.