Home » Turn Stale Bread Into This Tasty, Citrusy Cake

Turn Stale Bread Into This Tasty, Citrusy Cake

POUR FORM After baking, the cake gets a good soaking with a spiced citrus syrup.



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CHELSEA KYLE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, FOOD STYLING BY PEARL JONES, PROP STYLING BY VANESSA VAZQUEZ

THERE ARE SO many things to love about this cake. It has a sunny, citrusy flavor and moist, textured crumb. It uses up leftover breadcrumbs in place of flour, which makes it feel kind of thrifty. The pan goes into a cold oven—no need to preheat. And the oil in the batter keeps the cake moist for several days after baking. In fact, while excellent the day it’s made, this cake is even better the next day, once the flavors have become well acquainted.

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I first discovered this cake at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland. Ballymaloe’s Darina Allen credits the British writer Sophie Grigson with bringing it to the U.K. “In Tunisia, this would most likely be made with crumbs from semolina bread,” Ms. Allen explained. “Right now, we’re making it at the school with blood oranges. Tunisia has wonderful oranges and uses many varieties in syrup-soaked cakes like this one.” The classic North African pairing of orange and cinnamon warms up the flavor.

In place of the traditional semolina, crumbs from most any white bread will work in this cake, but they should be made at home. Anything too fine, such as panko or other store-bought crumbs, will not provide enough texture. Use bread that’s a day or two old and simply blitz hunks of it in a food processor until you have crumbs that are roughly the size of olive pits.

This is delicious paired with a soothing herbal infusion, such as a mint or chamomile tea. With a cake as moist as this one, there’s no need for whipped cream or ice-cream. But if you manage to save a slice for breakfast, try it with a dollop of plain yogurt, drizzled with a little honey.

CHELSEA KYLE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, FOOD STYLING BY PEARL JONES, PROP STYLING BY VANESSA VAZQUEZ

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing pan
  • 1⅓ cups white breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons grapeseed, canola or other neutral oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large orange and ½ lemon
  • Juice of the above orange
  • Juice of the above ½ lemon
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two

Directions

  1. Butter an 8-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, almond flour, sugar and baking powder. In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk together oil and eggs, then pour into dry ingredients. Add zests. Whisk batter to thoroughly combine. Pour into prepared cake pan.
  3. Set pan in cold oven and set to 350 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and a knife comes out clean, 45-60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then flip and unmold cake onto rack.
  4. Make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over low heat until slightly reduced, 10 minutes.
  5. Use a sharp knife to prick surface of cake about two dozen times. Pour syrup over cake in a slow, steady stream until it has all been absorbed. You can leave the cloves and cinnamon on for decoration or discard.

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