Every breakfast you could be sure to be offered fresh mint tea and orange juice. But, it wasn’t until we hiked the Atlas mountains that we saw how abundant oranges were. They made them look so good and refreshing in their natural mountain refrigeration system.
The waterfall and streams cut through the mountains so they would direct the cold water over the oranges and drinks. Vendors would get creative and make water contraptions that grabbed your attention, using Coke bottles and pinwheels to lure you in. After a steep hike up, the fresh juice was an instant relief and gave you that sugar boost you needed to keep going. For more recipes and stories, check out my new cookbook “Stories from Morocco: a food and travel memoir” now available through Kindle.
If you’ve never tried orange and cardamom, you’re missing out on a delectable pairing. Think orange marmalade made Moroccan.
1-2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil for greasing pan
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, muffin, or loaf pan.
2. In a medium pot of water, boil oranges with cardamom pods, whole, for 2 hours on a low heat. Make sure to replenish water. This removes the bitterness from the orange. Then, let cool enough to handle (best to chill overnight). Drain water and cardamom. Cut oranges and remove seeds. Blend whole orange with peel in a food processor or blender and set aside.
3. To make batter blend orange puree, egg yolks, and sugar. Omit 2 Tablespoons sugar if you want it less sweet. Whisk with an electric mixer or blend until creamy and fluffy, a couple minutes. Then, add in baking powder, salt, ginger, ground cardamom and whisk until combined.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Then, fold in ⅓ of the egg whites into the orange-yolk mixture. When incorporated, add in remaining whipped egg whites, folding gently to keep batter light and airy.
5. Fill 9-inch springform pan ¾ way full. You will have about 1 cup of remaining batter. You can make a couple muffins with this batter. Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Muffins: Bake 20-30 minutes or until batter starts to release from sides
Loaf: Bake 45 minutes – 1 hour
Serve with powdered sugar. Pairs well with fresh whipped cream and Moroccan mint tea.