orange blossom water pancake-cake with saffron pashmak & fresh figs
I decided after 9 years of living here at the farm that it might be a nice idea to have a birthday party this year. I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t ever done that. My birthday does pop itself into a pretty busy time of year so maybe I’ve gone with the gift of ease in the past? Anyway, a party was the call and a party was had. It was one of the best birthdays I can remember, with the same keen anticipation I’d always had before my birthday parties as a kid, that yummy mix of can’t wait, can’t wait, and wanting time to stand still from the moment the first party guest knocks on the door.
The other thing that probably stopped me having too many parties in the past is the organising that needs to take place to make it happen. No doubt, the best parties can be absolutely exhausting. But, when all your buddies happen to be on the same food page and effortlessly know how to make all the kinds of things you wished you could find on a single menu somewhere, it’s a natural next step to ask ladies to bring a plate. The table looked more like a health retreat than anything to do with ‘party food’ but that was the biggest celebration of all. The kombucha was flowing, caviar sat atop peppered cheese, there were handmade rice noodles in a tom kha broth, tomato & olive tart, vietnamese spring rolls, plates of just picked homegrown figs, chips and dips, snickers, scones with jam & cream and chocolate crackles – all dressed in their vegan best and some even in the raw. It was the best gift to share such stunning, heartfelt food with so many people I adore.
The cake was a funny little invention I’d imagined when I was meant to be working one afternoon; a stack of orange blossom water pancakes, sandwiched with lemon curd, and topped with saffron fairy floss and fresh figs. It actually came together at the last minute, in all its vegan, gluten-free glory, and I had another reason to be grateful on the day! The thing is even if it was a complete failure, I know everyone would have grabbed a fork and tucked into a mess of lemon curd pancakes anyway. That says everything to me about why it was the kind of day that presses in warm against your chest and leaves you wondering why there’s no formal word for crying and laughing at the same time. There was plenty of that.
Orange Blossom Water Pancake-Cake with Saffron Pashmak & Fresh Figs
2 1/2 cups organic GF Flour, or Spelt Flour
4 tspn GF baking powder
1 tsp Himalayan salt
4 tbsp organic olive oil
2 1/2 cups organic almond milk
2/3 cups orange blossom water
2 tsp organic vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp organic maple syrup
1 packet saffron pashmak (Iranian fairy floss)
lemon curd, or almond butter, for spreading between layers
4 – 6 fresh organic figs
fresh orange zest
To make the pancakes, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Add the milk, oil, orange blossom water, vanilla and maple syrup. Mix until everything just comes together, don’t over mix, a few lumps are ok.
Heat a flat sandwich grill or crepe pan.
Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop into the batter and pour each pancake, one at a time, onto the flat grill plate. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the bottom is browned and then flip over for an extra minute until the pancake firms up.
This should make between 16-20 pancakes that you can then stack on top each other to make the cake.
Once the pancakes are cool, sandwich each layer with lemon curd, or almond butter, or a spread of your choice. Homemade Nutella would be pretty good too.
When you get to the height you’d like your cake to be, add a final layer of the lemon curd to give the pashmak something to hang on to and then pile some of the wonderful fluffy fairy floss on top. You can tease this like a 50’s hairdo so don’t be afraid to make it as big as you fancy. It was suggested my efforts resembled a wild mountain goat.
Place the halved figs in amongst the nest of pashmak and top with fresh orange zest.
I thought afterwards, it would have been clever to put a skewer through the middle to help the cutting process because things did get a little slippery slidey towards the last few pieces of cake.
Brew the tea and make yourself a little party.