I’ve said it before, and no doubt I’ll say it many times again, but Rachel’s Baking Secrets: From Cookies to Casseroles, Fresh from the Oven (Rachel Allen) really is an inspiration of a book. Rachel’s way of writing makes all the recipes sound so inviting, it’s almost like having a conversation with her in the kitchen while you bake; that alone is enough to make me love the book but the stunning photography which makes your mouth water clinches the deal – this is one book not to be missed out on.
We’ve had some gorgeous weather here recently, on Tuesday the temperature on our (south facing sun trap) patio reached 42 degrees Celsius which is very rare indeed. In the heat I always end up having a conflict with myself and the weather – I love to bake and my desire for that never dwindles but the heat does rather dampen my spirit and ability to spend time in the kitchen; thus, I have to come up with bakes I can put together quickly and leave to their own/the ovens devices while I seek either the sun or shade depending on my mood. Having said that I adore the array of produce available over the warmer months and if to enjoy them at their best means I have to ‘slave over a hot stove’ then I will – I will not deprive my belly of these summertime delights.
Enough about me and back to the recipe at hand. Yesterday I had a need to bake, I don’t mean I had to bake for a special occasion or for a particular event but that I had an overwhelming desire to bake, and that bake had to suit the weather – dense, heavy fruit cakes were most certainly out of the picture as were chocolate cakes as I sometimes find they can be a bit sickly in the hotter weather; only sometimes mind you. I settled on Rachel Allen’s lime yoghurt cake with rosewater and pistachios from Rachel’s Baking Secrets: From Cookies to Casseroles, Fresh from the Oven, to me the recipe shouts of the Middle East, I can just imagine myself eating a slice of this while sipping some mint tea overlooking the ocean; and then I’ll pinch myself and come out of the dream.
The cake did not disappoint in the slightest, moist, slightly sticky from the rose water and lime syrup, it is sweet but not overly so as the lime gives a slight sharpness to counteract the sweet floral notes of the rose water. I chose to serve mine with whipped double cream which I folded an Israeli product called malabi syrup through which was a gift from the ever lovely Francesca who if I ever visit Israel would love to meet. To me malabi syrup tastes a bit like liquid Turkish delight, sweet and floral but with a fruity undertone. Francesca tells me that the brand of syrup I have contains raspberry juice and that would explain the fruitiness, other brands I gather use strawberry or cherry juice but raspberry is the most traditional.
Scattering with rose petals makes for an extremely pretty presentation for this very delicate cake but they are by no means essential, if you want to do so then you can buy them from The Spice Shop amongst other places. As for the scattering of the pistachio nuts, I think they’re vital, you need the change in texture, that slight crunch but above that the salty flavour they bring really makes the cake spring to life and shine in all its glory.