Wednesday 26 January 2011

orange cakes w figs, quince & rose

Happy Australia Day!

This is my 600th post since I started this blog in May 2006, so I’m celebrating with one of my favourite and most elegant recreations: replicas of Orange Cake w Persian Fig & Quince from Newtown’s Black Star Pastry.

Black Star Pastry is an amazing little café / patisserie with very pretty little cakes and cookies and great coffee. If you’re ever in Newtown you must make a pit stop to refuel on Lamb Shank & Red Wine Pies, Spinach & Mushroom Pithiviers, Earl Grey Macarons, Lemon Meringue w Basil Jelly or Strawberry, Watermelon & Rose Cake. Delish.

I made these gorgeous little cupcakes for Tia Bicky’s birthday after I promised her that if she stuck to her cholesterol reduction diet I’d make her this pretty cake as a reward.

It was amazingly easy to make and assemble, but was extraordinarily delicious.

I rate this as one of the best cupcakes I have ever made. I’m told Tia’s work colleagues loved them too.

Today marks the 223rd year since King George III sent Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet to set up a little penal colony on the ass-end of the earth.

Australia is a strange place. It’s big, it’s empty and it’s harsh. (sounds like a 4WD ad)

Aussies regularly call Australia the “lucky country” in reference to all things favourable about our island home. What many Aussies don’t realise was that this is part of a quote from the 1964 book "The Lucky Country" by Donald Horne, and that the author was being ironic and actually critical of Australia. Horne argued that while most industrialised nations created wealth by the intelligence of it’s population and the development of innovative technology, Australia just relied on its rich natural resources. The full quote is actually “Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck”.

Yep. Quote reference fail, big time.

Over the last 20yrs, Australia has transformed from a backwater, with a serious lack of imagination beyond a narrow Anglo-Celtic heritage, to a vibrant and multifaceted hub that I’m proud to hail from.

In 2001 my home, Sydney, gives me a wonderful lifestyle in a multicultural, cosmopolitan city. But I can’t help wondering why, when my ancestors got their first look at this place, they didn’t turn around and high tail it back to where ever they came from.

We have three levels of government in Australia: local, state and federal. One thing I am particularly proud of at the moment is that every single person representing me in my political system, in all three levels of Government, is a woman. It’s pretty amazing and I'm proud to see it happen:

Local Government
Clover Moore, Mayor of the City of Sydney (first woman elected into this position)

State Government
Carmel Tebbutt, Member for Marrickville (and Deputy Premier)
Kristina Keneally, Premier of NSW (first woman to hold this position)
Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW (first woman to hold this position)

Federal Government
Tanya Plibersek, Member for Sydney
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia (first woman to hold this position)
Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia (first woman to hold this position)
Queen Elizabeth II

Yes, the Queen of Britain is also the Queen of Australia. But for how much longer...? I'm referencing republicanism here peoples, not regicide.

Alright, enough about Australia. Oprah has promoted Australia pretty heavily recently, so I can take a break.

What you’re really reading this blog for is the food!

Persian Orange Cakes w Figs, Quince & Rose

Anna’s recreation of the Black Star Pastry cake. Makes 12 cakes.

Middle Eastern Orange Cake batter (from my recipe index)
50g quince paste, cut into small cubes
4-6 dried figs, quartered
12 pistachio nuts, blanched & quartered
1 tablespoon dried rose petals
185g butter, softened
2 ¼ cups icing sugar mixture
2 tablespoon natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest


1. Make orange cake as per this previously posted recipe, only use cupcake or friand tins.

2. When cakes have cooled, make the icing by beating the butter until pale. Gradually add icing sugar mixture yoghurt, lemon juice and zest. Beat until combined.

3. Assemble cakes by topping with lemon yoghurt frosting, then decorating with pieces of quince paste, figs, pistachios and rose petals.

Note: for dried rose petals and pistachios, I recommend Pariya products.


  1. Ciao Anna, tantissimi auguri di blog-compleanno! Cento di questi giorni!! Bellissimi questi dolcetti me li prendo subito! Un abbraccio

  2. This looks divine, will definitely be baking it at some stage.

  3. Great job Anna they look exactly like the Black Star cakes! :o

  4. Oh these look very much like the original. And congratulations on your 600th post! An amazing achievement. Congrats :)

  5. ornella - grazie mille :)

    maria & mirabella - they tasted pretty damn good too

    muppy - please do! you won't be disappointed

    lorraine - thanks, i had a photo to go off and i was just a little bit pleased with myself :)

    helen - thanks, it's been a tough slog some days and pure heaven you well know!

  6. These are so pretty! must have been hard to actually eat them ;)

  7. These look beautiful!

    How did you adjust the baking time for the cupcakes?

  8. taste my plate - true, but once you take the first bite you don't really care what they look like you just want to eat them.

    anon - thanks. the baking time was pretty much the same, but from 30 minutes i started checking on them every 5-10 mins just to be sure.


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