Weird, Wacky and Wonderful.
No, this description doesn’t just fit my very own personality (you know what they say: “know thyself and thou shalt be happy”), but these three adjectives are also the best way to describe this delicious cake.
When I told a random stranger at the gym that I had just baked the most incredible sweet couscous cake, she looked at me as if I was completely bonkers. (Admittedly, the fact that I simply wanted to share that with a stranger while running on the treadmill probably contributed to her thinking I was mentally challenged.)
Anyway, what I would like to say to that random stranger at the gym – and everyone else who is reading this with a huge frown on his forehead: wipe that frown off your face, darling! Using couscous in a sweet cake may sound rather eccentric at first (eccentric in this case being a euphemism for absolutely fucked up), but once you’ve tasted this cake, you will realize that this is in fact a sweet tooth’s revelation. The couscous adds great texture to the sponge and gives it a nice earthy flavour-dimension. Although this cake is slightly denser and heavier than a simple flour cake, your plate will be empty before you know it, thanks to the zingy, fragrant and sticky orange and fenugreek syrup that is poured all over the top of the cake once it comes out of the oven. This crazy-sounding syrup not only adds extra flavour, but makes the cake so intensely moist.
And once you know that I’ve also poured in a good splash of Amaretto, you just know that the initially wacky is in fact rather wonderful.
So weird as this all may sound, this couscous cake is a culinary sensation!
Amaretto, Orange and Couscous Cake With a Fenugreek Syrup
Although there are quite a few powerful flavours in this cake, one will never overpower the other and they all marry beautifully well together.
- 90ml olive oil
- 60ml Amaretto
- 60ml fresh orange juice
- 70gr orange marmalade
- 2 eggs
- 35gr caster sugar
- 35gr desiccated coconut
- 40gr plain flour
- 90gr spelt couscous
- 1tsp baking powder
- Almond flakes to garnish, optional
For the syrup:
- 50ml water
- 50ml fresh orange juice
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 4 tbsp honey
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Whisk together the olive oil, juice, marmalade, Amaretto and eggs until the marmalade is semi-dissolved.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut, sugar, flour, couscous and baking powder. Add these to the wet and mix well until combined.
- Grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment. Pour the batter into the tin and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
- Near the end of the baking time, place the syrup ingredients in a small pan and bring to the boil. Let it reduce slightly until it gets syrupy. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour one third of the syrup over the cake. Wait 5 minutes and pour over another third of the syrup. Wait another 5 minutes and pour over the remaining syrup. Let the cake cool down slightly in the tin before removing from the tin. Scatter some almond flakes over the top, if you wish.