Coriander Spiced Pound Cake with Strawberries

Coriander Spiced Pound Cake with Strawberries

A while back I posted a recipe for an Orange Pound Cake perfumed with coriander, and I blamed it on the egg yolks. You see, I had 6 yolks in the refrigerator and felt compelled to use them up, so I came up with a recipe for an Orange Spiced Poundcake.

Well, now I can say that the Orange Spiced Poundcake made me do it. While the cake was pleasantly fresh with orange, it was elusively intriguing with its hint of coriander. I wanted more. So, in an eternal quest for perfection, I had another go at this cake. Instead of 6 yolks  and buttermilk, I used 3 whole eggs with whole milk, relying on a method by Rose Levy Beranbaum which I’ve used for years. Instead of orange juice, I simply added zest for brightness and stepped up the coriander note, not only in the cake batter, but in a syrup which I used to baste the cake. To top it off, I added strawberries to some of the left over syrup and left them to macerate while the cake cooled, before spooning them over slices of the cake. Fruity, spiced and light, this is a luscious springtime dessert which embraces the coriander spice and takes advantage of the season’s strawberries.

Coriander Spiced Pound Cake with Strawberries
Makes one loaf – approximately 8 servings

For the syrup:
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted, finely ground

For the pound cake:
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 pound strawberries, hulled, quartered
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Orange zest

Prepare the syrup:
Combine sugar, water and ground coriander seeds in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and cool completely before straining. Once cool, strain syrup into a bowl and set aside.

Prepare the pound cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter and flour a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Whisk the eggs, milk, zest and vanilla together in a small bowl. Briefly mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl of an electric mixer to combine. Add the butter and half of the eggs. Beat for 1 minute to aerate. Add remaining eggs in 2 batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack. Brush the top of the cake with some of the syrup;  cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack and brush the sides and bottom of the cake with the syrup. Cool completely. (The flavors will develop as the cake cools.)
While the cake is cooling, toss the remaining syrup with the strawberries in a bowl. Beat cream, sugar and ground coriander in a bowl of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
To serve, cut pound cake into 3/4 inch slices. Spoon some of the strawberries with syrup over the cake. Top with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with orange zest.

Orange Spiced Pound Cake

Orange Spiced Pound Cake

Orange Spiced Pound Cake

The egg yolks made me do it. Do you ever have an ingredient you feel compelled to use, and end up building an entire recipe around the singular ingredient? That’s how I came about this recipe for an Orange Spiced Pound Cake. I had 6 egg yolks sitting forlornly in my refrigerator, cast aside when I needed just as many egg whites to create a salt crust for a whole-baked salmon. I couldn’t throw them away, so I decided to make a pound cake. It was a bit of an experiment, because normally I use 3 whole eggs in a pound cake, and this time I substituted 6 yolks instead.

Anticipating a yellow-tinged cake enhanced by the yolks, I decided to run with it. Instead of my go-to lemon, I added orange juice and zest which would be visually asserted by the rich cake color. Since oranges are sweeter and rounder than puckery lemons, I added a teaspoon of coriander to ground the orange flavor. The result was a softly sweet and light cake, redolent of orange with a faint hint of earthy spice. Best of all? It had a rich and beautiful color.

Orange Spiced Pound Cake
Makes one loaf

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter a cake or loaf pan. Line bottom with parchment and butter parchment. Dust with flour.
Combine sugar and butter in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl until thick and lightened. Whisk into the sugar and butter.
Combine buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla in a small bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, coriander and salt together in another bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour to the eggs, mixing well to combine. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, and continue to alternate, finishing with the flour. Mix in the orange zest. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden and a skewer inserted in center comes clean, about 1 hour. Cool on rack 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely. (The flavors will develop as the cake cools.)

Carrot Soup with Coriander Seed and Cilantro

Carrot Soup with Coriander Seed and Cilantro

Carrot Cilantro Soup

Carrots share a love affair with coriander in this rich yet light soup. Carrots are cooked with onion and dried coriander, then blitzed with fresh cilantro leaves. The sweetness of the carrot is tempered by the spice of coriander and cayenne, while the strength of fresh cilantro is mellowed as it mingles with the sweet and savory flavors of the stock. All in all, a lovely match.

Carrot Soup with Coriander Seed and Cilantro
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound carrots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 3 minutes. Add carrots, ground coriander and cayenne. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until carrots are very soft, about 45 minutes. Carefully transfer soup to bowl of food processor or blender. Add cilantro sprigs. Purée until smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in brown sugar, salt and pepper. Gently rewarm over medium heat. Serve soup warm garnished with fresh cilantro sprigs.