One of my most memorable pastry experiences in Sydney was Black Star Pastry in Newtown. The closet-size store was packed with customers at any given time and with good reasons. Never mind that I felt so out of place in hipster central. Everything was prepared with great care and absolutely delicious. I only wished I had stomach room to sample more from their creative selection of cakes, pastries, and cookies. It’s been over 10 months since I returned home and I still dream about their Orange Cake with Persian Fig.
I did a bit of digging around and discovered to my surprise that the cake is gluten free. The incredibly moist crumb is result of using whole boiled oranges in the batter. Using whole boiled oranges is not a usual practice with cake baking. How curious! These two clues led me to Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern Orange Cake recipe. It appears this is a common cake to serve in cafes in Australia. Black Star Pastry’s interpretation included a luscious cream cheese frosting and loaded with rose petals, pistachios, dried figs, and quince paste. I set out to recreate this cake in my home kitchen.