Now more than ever – juggling a renovation, moving in 3 days, and our wedding in less than 30 – do I believe in rewarding life’s little victories. Like scoring moving boxes at $2 a pop, or discovering there’s one last pair of your perfect wedding shoes in stock, in your size, after being told they were totally sold out.
Yesterday, our reward came in the form of another bout of spontaneous baking. This time, it was the urge to fill our increasingly boxed-up home with the cheerful, citrusy scent of fresh orange cake.
Orange cake may appear out of place on a Middle Eastern food blog, but this recipe comes to you from a very special kitchen in Amman, Jordan: my Teta’s – grandmother’s – kitchen. This sweet, simple yet incredibly aromatic cake has been in my life as long as I can remember, and holds in its delicate crumbs some of my favorite childhood memories.
With the zest of four whole oranges, plus a fresh orange juice glaze, each bite pays a loving homage to a fruit widely grown in the Middle East; the fruit that my own family once grew on an orchard in Gaza. The combination of canola oil and four eggs lends a richness that even a true connoisseur may mistake as the result of endless butter.
The juice and icing sugar glaze is my mother’s addition, and one not to be missed. Simply mix, poke several holes in the top of the hot cake, and pour all over. It’s magic.