saffron and cardamom cake

Sometimes it’s just about having a nice slice of cake. It doesn’t need to be multilayered and piled with fruit or herbs or edible flowers.

This is one such cake. I did mix in some leftover rhubarb compote because at this time of year, it becomes a bit of given that you have rhubarb in everything. It didn’t add much however, and may be the reason the cake was sunken a bit in the middle.

I haven’t baked with saffron much, but I’d love to do more now. The saffron milk was deeply coloured, with the intensity and assertiveness of acrylic.

The icing was supposed to be simple and then everything, just everything, went wrong. But playing a bit with temperatures and using a whole lot of muscle finally got it back together into something smooth–which then proceeded to separate after a little sit in the fridge. That part is a bit of a disaster.

Luckily, it was a lovely cake, and would be just as nice un-iced. I baked some small ones, sprinkled with slivered almonds and dusted with icing sugar, which made for a lovely little bite. The cake’s texture revealed the presence of the nuts, it was rich and buttery but not dense, and the crisp crust was lovely, browned very well and revealed a golden interior when cut.

saffron, cardamom and almond cake with orange pekoe mascarpone

It got to be a bit of a mouthful. 

saffron, cardamom and almond cake

Adapted from this almond and chocolate bundt, an almond-y riff off the classic sponge. Used some rhubarb compote that was made a few days ago–just rhubarb stewed with sugar and a bit of water to get it started. Drain the compote before using. 

180 g butter

140 g granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs at room temperature

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

40 g kamut

140 g all purpose flour

75 g ground almond

2 1/2 tbsp milk

generous 1/4 tsp saffron

1/2 – 1 c rhubarb compote, drained

Line the bottom of a 7″/18 cm springform with parchment paper. Butter the sides. For little cakes, butter some small tins.

Heat the milk and crumble in the saffron. Set aside and let cool.

Cream the butter with the sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (including the almonds). A spoonful of the dry ingredients can be added in between each egg–part of the directions in the original recipe, I liked how it helped to keep the butter mixture together (though room temperature eggs are even more helpful in that sense, to prevent the whole little curds of butter floating in a pool of cold beaten egg scenario). Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and lastly mix in the milk.

Scrape half the batter into the springform pan. Top with the rhubarb compote, then the remaining batter. The little cakes can be topped with slivered almonds and dragées if desired.

Bake the big cake for 50 minutes at 350 F or until an inserted skewer is removed clean. The little cakes take 10 minutes or so.


orange pekoe mascarpone icing

This was something I spent too much time desperately trying to salvage! 

1 orange pekoe tea bag

~125 g mascarpone

~30 g heavy cream

~40 g icing sugar

~50 g butter

heavy cream

The icing was a disaster, perhaps due to the tannic acidity of the tea. So sit down and work at it with a wooden spoon for fifteen minutes or however long you need to make it smooth. After resting or being chilled , beware, it might separate again…!

I’ll walk you through what I did. I boiled a few tbsp of water and poured it over the tea bag in a small bowl until it was just covered. I allowed it to steep for a few minutes, then removed and squeezed the tea bag, which made for some very concentrated spoonfuls of tea. I beat a tablespoon of this into the mascarpone, watched everything fall apart, and then creamed in the powdered sugar in an attempt to reconstitute it.

Next, I whipped the cream and mixed it into the mascarpone as though that would somehow bring it together and stiffen it up. When it did not, I added the soft butter and then beat away at the icing with a wooden spoon until eventually it came together light and smooth.

I chilled it, it fell apart again. Work at it again with the spoon (I love wooden spoons) and eventually it will come back together again. Only chill after you’ve spread it on the cake, though the cake it best at room temperature…

I think what could be improved would perhaps be to steep the tea in cream…maybe (unless it curdles the cream as well?! Oh horrors).


pecorino and parsley pancake with arugula

More is almost always better. More whole grain flours, more herbs and more flavour… until it becomes too much. This was a lesson in moderation. Too much and your pancake will be flat!

I still remember the awe I felt when my sister made a puffy Dutch baby pancake–it rose to an incredible height in the oven, but then as soon as we pulled it out, it collapsed before my mum could see how tall it rose. Subsequently covering it with fruit and maple syrup, it didn’t matter.Since then I’ve found a deeper browning of the pancake can help ensure it stays puffy, but collapsed or not, a soft and light and airy pancake makes for quite the lovely start to the day.

This one would be good for a group breakfast, a savoury pancake with cheese and herbs and topped with a lemony arugula salad. It ended up being a lunch for us, as my first pancake didn’t quite pan out.

I piled in the herbs and the cheese in my first attempt. What I ended up with had none of those billowy crisp edges and puffy ridges of a typical pancake–it was squat, thick and flat, and completely solid. So the second time around I toned everything down to let the pancake rise and ended up with one that was still flavourful, but also had a good bit of air to it as well.

In the usual Dutch baby pancake style you sprinkle it with lemon juice and dust with icing sugar. The acidity is a welcome relief against the buttery pancake.

For this version I used a very very bright and acidic lemony vinaigrette on arugula, which kept the pancake bright and light.

But just in case you happen to be feeling like a rubbery flat pancake is just the thing you’re in the mood for, and I’ll admit, it did taste quite good, I’ve provided both recipes below.


From left to right: flat pancake, puffy pancake.

flat pancake.

3 eggs

68 g approx half milk, half heavy cream

43 g spelt flour

large handful parsley

1/2 slice of red onion, chopped

1/2 tbsp grainy mustard

some grated nutmeg

pinch kosher salt

ground black pepper

large handful finely grated pecorino romano

35 g butter

Preheat oven to 425F.

Finely chop the parsley steps and chop the parsley leaves a bit less finely.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and cream. Whisk in the flour until smooth and then stir in the remaining ingredients except for half of the grated cheese and all the butter.

Heat the butter in a 9″ cast iron pan until melted, swirling to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour in the batter. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining half of the cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until well browned and still very flat.


puffy pancake!

3 eggs

63 g approx half milk, half heavy cream

43 g flour, approx half spelt, half all purpose

a few stalks of parsley

a bit of chopped red onion

a bit of dijon mustard

some grated nutmeg

very scant 1/2 tsp kosher salt

ground black pepper

a small handful grated pecorino romano

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Finely chop the parsley steps and chop the parsley leaves a bit less finely.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and cream. Whisk in the flour until smooth and then stir in the remaining ingredients except for all the grated cheese and butter.

Heat the butter in a 9″ cast iron pan until melted, swirling to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Heat the butter until fairly hot–it will sizzle when a drop of batter is added and the batter will bubble. Pour in all the batter.

Sprinkle with the grated pecorino romano, most of it in the centre of the pancake–the part which we don’t want to rise anyways–not the edges.

Bake at 425F for 15 min until poofed and browned, then turn the temperature down to 375F for another 5-10 minutes until very nicely browned.


to top: lemony arugula salad

bowlful arugula

zest and juice of 1/4 lemon

dijon mustard

just a splash of neutral oil


small length of fennel stem, thinly sliced

spoonful of capers, chopped

Whisk together lemon juice, zest, oil, and mustard with some salt and pepper for a very acidic dressing. Toss with the arugula, pile onto the pancake. Sprinkle with the capers and fennel and some additional parsley leaves.

rhubarb, apricot and poppy seed muffins

For some reason my junior high, a public school of otherwise unremarkable virtue, was miraculously endowed with a climbing wall. We learned to belay and boulder and of course, as it was not a team sport, it was my absolute favourite gym module.

And now, several years later, it seems like everyone climbs! Labmates, friends, acquaintances, and even my sister, visiting for a week, casually dropped that she started bouldering as well.

It’s made me want to revisit climbing. I still have the belaying movements ingrained in my memory, but the calls are a bit foggy apart from “on belay?” and “belay on!” Speaking to a junior high friend, we might go together, maybe just bouldering for now, to relive some of those old days of physical education. Though, rather than reliving, it sounds like we might get ourselves into a new, and suddenly rather popular, pursuit.

In the meantime, in a rather contradictory move, here are some muffins. The rhubarb is growing and it demands to be baked.

rhubarb, apricot and poppy seed muffins

Adapted from the blueberry muffin recipe in Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel.

86 g a.p. flour

109 g whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

96 g softened butter

75 g granulated sugar

2 tbsp honey

2 eggs

zest of 1 navel orange, finely grated

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

50 g thick 10% yoghurt

2 tbsp milk

80 g dried apricots, chopped into small pieces

200 g rhubarb


30 g butter

30 g whole wheat flour

30 g brown sugar

30 g rolled oats

pinch salt

Whisk together the flour, salt, poppy seeds, baking powder and baking soda. Cream the butter until light, then cream in the sugar and honey, followed by the eggs (one at a time) and the orange zest and vanilla extract. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the yoghurt and milk to the butter, mixing until just combined. Mix in the apricots and then cover the batter and let rest in the fridge overnight.

For the streusel, first mix together the flour and butter, then the sugar, oats and salt. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Chop the rhubarb and toss with a little bit of additional flour. Mix into the muffin batter–as it’s cold, it will be very thick and a bit difficult. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and divide the batter among 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle generously with streusel–you’ll have some left.

Bake for around 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer is removed clean.

some cookies, for the next time i read a book

Oatmeal cookies, in all their lumpy nooks-and-cragginess make me think of old libraries and crowded bookshelves (I have some screencaps of my favourite book-ish scenes for you below). It’s an odd association, but they seem to be the right cookie for reading dusty hardcovers or thick block-ish softcovers.

As I’ve rambled about before, I hardly read anymore. So while I think these cookies are best with a novel, odds are that I’ll usually settle for a textbook. This summer I’m hoping to do some reading and overall it hasn’t been a bad year.

Book, book, play. Funny Face, Le Hérrison, The Royal Tenenbaums (image sources: 1, 2, 3)

I’ve been working on the well-written The Adventures of Cavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon (which is about comics and some form of The American Dream). It’s taken me a while to get into it, but I think I finally am. Recently I finished reading the beautifully written All the Light That We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is a nearly solid amalgamate of metaphor and simile, and yet you never get tired of them. I also just soared through a YA novel, Games Wizards Play by Diane Duane. I started reading the series over ten years ago, which gives you some idea of how long the series has stretched on for. It was one of my favourites (and still is–it combines sci fi and fantasy and is just so optimistic and benevolent and I think most of the books are perfect.) The intergalactic ethics and the moral efforts of the main characters has a bit of a Doctor Who sort of appeal.

Happy reading!

oatmeal cookies with dried fruits

Makes around 12 big chunky cookies. Adapted from the back of the oats package. Always reliable!

6 dried pitted dates, cut crosswise into rounds

2 handfuls dried cherries

1 generous handful dried prunes, chopped into quarters

1/2 c butter

scant 3/4 c brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp allspice

1 c quick cooking oats

1/2 c rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 325F. Cover the dried fruit with boiling water and set aside to plump while you make the cookies.

Cream the butter with the sugar, then beat in the egg, vanilla, salt. Separately, whisk together the flour, spices and baking soda. Mix into the butter, then mix in the oats. Finally, drain the fruit and mix into the dough.

Portion the dough into 12 generously sized cookies (or 24 small ones). They stayed quite tall so if you want large thinner cookies, flatten the mounds of dough.

Bake until the bottoms and edges are browned, 10-15 minutes. Let cool on the tray as they’re quite soft.

steamed vegetable and mushroom buns

Growing up, the only the bread on the counter was 100% whole wheat. Whole wheat bread can be delicious and nutty, but this whole wheat bread was as delicious and nutty as mildewed sawdust. When chewed it collapsed into a gummy mass that clung to one’s teeth. I much preferred eating it frozen, where the slices of bread were actually quite crisp and refreshing.

So there was this 100% whole wheat glue, a hideously poor excuse for a bread, palatable only when slathered with butter and sugar and cinnamon, and far more useful for stopping up the corners of drafty windows. And then there was steamed bread.Steamed buns were the Wonder Bread of my childhood. Steamed bread was not whole grain in the slightest, it was pearly and luminescent. And steamed bread was sweet and it was soft and fluffy and springy. There was nothing between you and the glutinous fluffiness, the pillowy fine crumb, and the sweet chewy softness, nothing, especially not a thick crust, bitter with char and with the tears of children who lust after trimmed sandwiches. The thin stretchy skin of steamed buns made them the contents of the dreams.

I would only get steamed bread when we went for dim sum. I would carefully separate the layer of bread from the filling, discarding the meat for my parents or grandparents. I tolerated none of the the saucy cha sui tarnishing the precious experience of steamed bread, free of all other flavours or distractions.Realizing that I could make my own steamed bread at home was a revelation that came later in junior high school. While it could have been the gateway to perpetual soft bread happiness, alas, the right texture still evaded me. I found the bread tended to shrivel once out of the steamer and were tough and gummy. Distressed, I gave up and I didn’t return to steamed bread until more recently.

I certainly haven’t perfected steamed buns and my sealing could certainly use some more work, but when you have the time–say a nice lazy Saturday morning free–you can have buns in time for lunch. And now I no longer banish the filling to be separated from the bun. As I’ve come to accept the pleasant combination of bun filling and bun itself eaten together, steamed buns have become another vehicle for any sort of filling that one is feeling up to at the time. This was a simple filling, just leftover vegetables cooked with some mushrooms and dried bean curd.

As I explain in the recipe below, the buns have been improving. I’ve found larger buns and thicker layers of bread around the filling facilitate more fluffy texture than gumminess, and careful gradual cooling allows the buns to not collapse. It may not quite be Wonder Bread, but a fresh steamed bun remains a lovely, adequate, somewhat fulfilling thing all on its own.

steamed vegetable and mushroom buns


Bread dough adapted from Fuschia Dunlop’s Land of Fish and Rice. Enough for 10-11 smaller buns or 6-7 larger buns.

250 g all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp dry yeast

1/2 tsp baking powder

150-160 mL warm water

2 tsp oil

Mix the flour with the sugar, salt, yeast, baking powder. Form a well in the centre, add the water and oil. Mix with a wooden spoon, switching to hands when necessary, to form a cohesive dough. Let rest for 10 minutes, then knead a few times until nice a smooth. Form into a tight round, cover and let proof until doubled, either in the fridge overnight or for around 40 min to 1 hour at room temperature.


filling & assembly

2 sticks dried bean curd/tofu sheets

2 small dried shiitake mushrooms

1 small knob ginger

1 clove garlic

3 button mushrooms

2 green onions

handful cilantro

leftover cooked green vegetables–gai lan, bok choy, cabbage…

2-3 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp black vinegar

plenty of ground white pepper

small spoonful of cornstarch

Cover the dried bean curd and shiitake with boiling water and let soak. The bean curd should preferably soak overnight, but if not, instead you can soak until pliable, thinly slice crosswise, and then continue soaking–the smaller pieces will soften completely through very quickly. Squeeze the excess liquid out of the sliced bean curd and shiitake.

Remove the stem from the shiitake, thinly slice the cap crosswise and then cut perpendicularly into small pieces.

Finely chop the ginger and garlic. Chop the button mushrooms into small pieces. Heat a bit of oil in a small pan and cook the ginger, garlic, shiitake and button mushrooms until the mushrooms have cooked and sweated out the water. Set aside.

Finely chop the green onions, chop the cilantro (include the stems too, chopping them more finely). Chop the vegetables into small pieces as well; if leftover gai lan, cut the stem lengthwise into halves or quarters and then cut crosswise into small pieces. Be sure to squeeze out any excess liquid.

Combine all the prepared ingredients in a bowl. Season with the soy sauce, sesame oil, black vinegar and white pepper; taste and adjust as necessary. Lastly, mix in the cornstarch to sop up any excess liquid.

To fill the buns, roll the dough into a log and cut into pieces. For a nice small-medium bun, I like 40g of dough (you will get around 10-11), whereas a larger bun can use 60g of dough (6-7 of those). Roll each piece of dough into a ball, ensure they stay covered to prevent drying out, and let rest for a few minutes.

Take one round of dough and roll into a small circle, then begin rolling just around the edges. You want to end up with a round of dough which has a thicker round centre and thinner edges–as you’ll be pleating the edges together, this is useful to ensure a more even distribution of dough around the filling. Place the round of dough in the palm of your non-dominant hand and place 1-2 spoonfuls of filling in the centre. Use your thumb and fingers of your dominant hand to make folds of dough and pleat them together, turning the bun in a clockwise manner as you do so. Are you make one go around the bun, you may likely end up with a pleated top, but a rather large gaping hole in the middle, so then go around a second time, tightening and pulling together the dough in a clockwise direction until you end up with a sealed bun.

If you notice, my buns were rather poorly sealed–the filling is a bit greasy so I believe the bit of oil from the excess filling caught between the folds of dough helped them spread apart when expanding and steaming. Something to work on!

Left over filling can be used for dumplings or even briefly heated in a pan and eaten with rice.

Place each bun on a small square of paper, cover and let rise until puffed, around 20 minutes. Place in a steamer with some water, and set over high heat. Once the water is boiling, turn down the heat a bit to maintain a vigorous simmer and steam for around 8 minutes (maybe a bit longer for larger buns). Remove the steamer from the heat, and let gradually cool down with the lid still firmly on for 10 minutes–otherwise when opening the lid, the cold air can cause immediate and devastating shrinkage of otherwise lovely and fluffy steamed buns.


pistachio, coconut and apricot granola

Given my inability (or lack of motivation) to write anything coherent, let alone interesting or relevant, I have taken inspiration from that utilitarian structure of elementary school, that handy inspirational framework that helped me produce many a vapid and dull piece of poetry: the acrostic poem.

Really (oh that was bad), it is the writing of the posts that has become the bottleneck of the blog; I have countless (i.e. 40+) drafts of recipe + photos, without a single other word written.Anonymity in ways holds me back as it is sometimes hard to say where the line lies with the blog–lately I’ve found that I prefer to avoid the personal, even in the vague terms of extended metaphors representing my emotional state (mostly sleepy) or anonymized descriptions of exchanges and encounters.

Nor is a  purely food-focused post always that desirable; I find it’s hard to carry off without falling into the usual pattern of childhood memories unless I actually have some new insight into what I made.

Oddly yet obviously, now that I think about it, there is something to say about granola: it’s so ridiculously easy for homemade granola to be better than the ultra-sweet and dull mincemeat that is storebought.

Laden with dried fruit and nuts, I’ve been working with Alton Brown’s granola recipe for probably the last 8 years, and over time I’ve made adjustments that I’m quite fond of–eliminating an excess of completely unnecessary sugar, and altering the baking technique to retain nice large clumps.

And now get ready for a final line of profound simplicity…


pistachio, coconut and apricot granola

Adapted from Alton Brown, and the flavour profile from Chez Moi. I quite like the level of sweetness. For large clumps, only break it up near the very end–it’s fairly delicate so it will easily separate into clumps when you pour it into a jar.

300 g rolled oats (3 c)

95 g (1 c) slivered almonds

87 g pistachios (which can be given a rough chop) (3/4 c)

70 g dried & shredded unsweetened coconut (scant 1 cup)

3/4 tsp salt

60 mL oil

90 mL maple syrup

1 tbsp vanilla extract

large flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 250F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts and coconut. Separately, whisk together the oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract until emulsified. I find for better distribution, it is best to add the salt to the liquid ingredients, though I did forget to do that this time around.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Distribute between the two pans and spread into a thin even layer.

Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pans, and bake for another 30 minutes. I like the granola to be quite chunky, so at this point I used a wide offset spatula-type instrument to go through and flip over the granola, keeping it in as large pieces as possible. Bake for another 15-30 minutes or until completely dried and lightly browned. Let cool.

Mix in the chopped apricots and store in a jar.

cardamom coffee cake with blood oranges

I have a kind of strange cake for the blog today, as well as a kind of strange topic.

We shall start with the strange topic: spam comments. I’ve recently experienced a deluge of spam comments. It started this month, and it’s really quite something.

If you’re not familiar with Akismet stats, the green represents “ham” or actual comments from individual readers, whereas the yellow represents the spam.

And the spam is simply bizarre–lately I’ve received a batch of seemingly sincere yet rather awkward and broken sentences, combined with strange urls that seem to lead to nowhere (try assortment of 6 random At least it made sense when the post content heavily endorsed certain SEO services or the author’s url lead to youtube videos about erectile dysfunction medications.

Sometimes I feel rather touched by this impersonal, mass-produced anonymous spam–isn’t this one sweet? A bit creepy because of the weird URL and everything but…

Thanks for your personal maoelvrus[sic] posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and may come back at some point. I want to encourage one to continue your great work, have a nice weekend!

And then there’s some nonsensical comments such as this:

Pin my tail and call me a dokyne,[sic] that really helped.

There’s also some abnormally coherent posts without any discernible spelling or grammar mistakes…yet they’re also completely irrelevant to anything at all that I’ve posted. And so strangely specific as well! At least the generic comments would apply pretty equally to just about anyone’s blog…but this?

Looks fabulous! I’m a big fan of the stripes and the woven pinboard looks perfect in that space. I’m totally green with jealously because we don’t have a mudroom. You walk in from the garage right into the living room. Carpeted living room. Argh! The one thing about our house that drives me up the wall!

Stripes and woven pinboards is a pretty serious thing for mudroom fanatics these days.

I also receive some spam that are rather critical:

Write more, thats[sic] all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre[sic] talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

I would be convinced if only there was actually a video and the poster’s name was not “where to buy …”.

Some searching on the internet helped clear up some of my confusion as to how leaving a comment either a) obviously promoting a product or b) simply bizarre could be at all useful. If you’re curious, I’d really recommend this read. It’s a matter of links and clicks–and the numbers are only significant when the number of spam comments are a several degrees of magnitude higher. And with so many spam comments, sometimes not too much care goes into how they’re written. The article also provided some explanation for all comments with curious word choice and bizarre diction and syntax, as well as the urls that lead nowhere.

Initially, from I poured through the spam folder with bewilderment, some amusement, and a bit of annoyance; spam seemed like an undeniable frustration and trespass. While I’ve received comments that are clearly spam by the nonsense and the product-peddling, reading more about the spam comment industry did make me realize it’s not always that clear of a distinction. There could be grey areas–I wonder if mass-produced spam comments became a bit more targeted and relevant to my post, whether I would still view them as spam. Or what about if someone actually did read your post, but then commented solely to promote their product?I have similar ambivalent and conflicted feelings about this cake!

The cake was quite yummy, but it had a strange sort of texture; it was a bit spongey actually. Altogether this cake also suffered from the same problem of too much acidity with the mascarpone and orange combination as did this cake I posted last time. Will I ever learn?

cardamom coffee cake with blood oranges

rye coffee and cardamom cake

150 g butter at room temperature

50 g brown sugar

30 g granulated sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 eggs, divided

75 g dark rye flour

75 g all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground anise

1 tsp baking powder

100 mL cooled coffee with a splash of heavy cream

to serve

coffee liqueur

1 blood orange

60 g mascarpone

120 g yoghurt

icing sugar, to taste

Cream butter with brown sugar and 20 g of the granulated sugar until light. Continue creaming away as you add the vanilla and salt until everything is very light and fluffy. Beat in 3 egg yolks one at a time and 1 egg white. Set aside the remaining two egg whites.

Whisk together the flours, spices and baking powder and set aside.

Whip the two egg whites with the remaining 10 g granulated sugar to soft peaks.

Alternate mixing the flour and coffee into the butter mixture. Lastly, fold in the egg whites, first lightening by completely folding in one dollop and then mixing in the remaining. Scrape into a prepared loaf pan.

Bake at 350F for or until an inserted skewer is removed with only a few crumbs clinging to it.

Let cool for a few moments before pouring over a few spoonfuls of coffee liqueur if desired (I think this may have made my cake collapse a little bit).

Mix together the mascarpone and yoghurt until smooth. Sweeten to taste with icing sugar. Add zest of 1 blood orange.

Cut the peel from the blood orange and slice into rounds. Once the cake is cooled completely, spread the mascarpone on top followed with the orange slices.