Uses for orange blossom water in spring treats
By Roshni Riar, Staff Writer
Out of curiosity—I’m sure the nice weather had something to do with it—I picked up a bottle of orange blossom water from my local Walmart a few weeks ago. I’ve come to find that it’s a really complex and unique flavour that is perfect for spring treats.
I’ve compiled some fun recipes to experience the fresh, citrusy flavour that just a few drops of orange blossom water can offer:
Orange Blossom Olive Oil Cake
2 cups flour (cake or all-purpose)
1/3 cup cornmeal (or ground-up oats)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp coconut milk (or whatever you have)
2-1/2 tbsp orange blossom water
2-1/2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs (replace these with flax eggs if you’d like to make this recipe vegan)
1-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
This ingredient list might seem intimidating, but I promise that the result is totally worth trying it, even if you’re not much of a baker. This dessert is a light, fluffy cake that is slightly floral and tangy. It’s perfect for a spring treat!
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and orange zest (use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer if you have one). Beat these ingredients together until they become light, ribbony, and pale yellow—it will take at least three to five minutes.
Once the mixture is pale yellow, slowly start drizzling in one cup of olive oil. After the first cup is incorporated, add another quarter cup. Keep beating until mixture begins to thicken. Now thickened, mix together milk, orange blossom water, orange juice, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
Slowly add the small bowl of wet ingredients to the eggs, sugar, and olive oil. Mix until incorporated and slowly begin whisking in your dry ingredients. Once all the dry ingredients are in the bowl, combine until the batter is fully incorporated and thick.
Using olive oil, heavily grease a 9 x 9 baking pan or two muffin tins. Using parchment paper will help the batter not stick to the pan. Pour the batter in and tap the pan on counter to release any air bubbles before placing it in oven. Bake for 35 minutes, checking with a toothpick constantly. Pull the cake while it’s still moist in the middle—using the toothpick test to tell that it is still moist. If you need to add 10 minutes of bake time, that’s totally fine too. For muffin-sized cakes, they tend to cook more quickly so start checking them around the 20-minute mark.
After baking, poke holes in the top of the cakes and drizzle your remaining olive oil over them. Once cool, remove from pan and let rest for 20 minutes. You can eat this cake as-is, or slap on some icing and top with your choice of chopped nuts—I normally use pistachios.
Speaking of icing, here’s a nice icing recipe that is great on a number of desserts this spring, including the olive oil cake.
Orange Blossom Water Icing
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp coconut milk (or your preferred milk)
2 tbsp orange blossom water
1 tsp orange zest
Mix ingredients together, adjusting as necessary until the mixture is white and thick. The result is a spreadable and delicious icing. You can put this on just about anything—trust me, I’ve tried.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try whipping up a refreshing orange blossom water cocktail to have along with your freshly iced cake. When utilizing orange blossom water in cocktails, I generally use it in place of bitters. So, for a citrusy gin and tonic, I’d do something like this:
Orange Blossom Water Cocktail
2 ounces gin
1 tsp orange blossom water
12 ounces tonic water (1.5 cups)
One orange, thinly sliced
One lime, halved
Handful of mint leaves
1/2 cup ice
Simply shake together gin, orange blossom water, ice, and the lime juice from one half.
In a tall glass, add as many orange slices as you’d like. Take some mint leaves and crush them in between your fingers to release their oils, then add to glass. Put in some ice, then pour the gin mixture over top. Top the glass off with tonic water and affix a lime wedge—sliced from the remaining half—to the rim.