Orange & Fennel Seed Pound Cake
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Prep + cook time 2 hours (+ standing & cooling)  serves 6

225g unsalted butter, softened

220g caster sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind

4 eggs

80ml orange juice

225g plain flour

2½ teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted

300g ricotta

80g icing sugar

160ml double cream 

2 tablespoons sugar-coated fennel seeds (see tip)

 

1     preheat oven to 170°c/150°c fan. Grease a 10.5 x 25cm loaf pan (top measurement); line base 
and sides with baking paper.

2     beat butter, caster sugar, vanilla bean paste and rind in a medium bowl with an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, frequently scraping down side of bowl. Add juice and combined sifted flour and baking powder, and fennel seeds; beat on low speed until just combined. Spread mixture into pan; smooth surface.

3     bake cake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave cake in 
pan for 10 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto a wire rack to cool.

4     process ricotta and icing sugar until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl; fold in cream.

5     using a serrated knife, split cake in half. Place base layer on a platter; spread with half the ricotta cream. Top with the remaining cake layer; spread top of the cake with the remaining ricotta cream. Sprinkle with sugar-coated fennel seeds.

TOP TIPS

Sugar-coated fennel seeds are available from Indian grocers and specialist spice shops. They’re one of the ingredients in a mix called mukhwas, traditionally served as a breath freshener after an Indian meal.

Cake can be made a day ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Ice on the day of serving.