Raise your hand if you baked or cooked something new this week! I did. If you didn't know, I am really into cooking and baking - duh. I am continually inspired by new dishes and have a running culinary "to-do" list (aka my Pinterest, lol). I feel like I got a late start to cooking, so I find myself wanting to make all of the things all of the time. What's funny is, I completely missed the basics. I am terrible at frying eggs, have the most unevenly shaped and colored pancakes, and have been known to destroy a grilled cheese sandwich. On the other hand, I am ever afraid to try new dishes or incorporate ingredients that I have never worked with.
My husband and I jokingly fight about this all the time. I am always trying to make something new for dinner or for the blog and am really hard on myself when it does not turn out. Brett thinks I shouldn't have such high expectations for things I've never done before (bless him), but I totally disagree. If I know I have the skill to make it, then it should still turn out perfect - even on the first try, right? Okay, maybe I am a bit crazy. But still - ya gotta try. I look at each meal as an opportunity to stuff my face with new flavours and interesting combos, not the same ol' - same ol' all the time. I mean, we can't have tacos every night.
Of course there must be a first time for everything. And a certain amount of error should be expected. Over the years, I've had my share of culinary pitfalls - like when trying to master macarons in a single weekend or cooking a cornish game hen that was still partially frozen from my overactive fridge. I believe we torture challenge ourselves because when a new recipes works on the first try we feel like superstars - like this Chocolate Kumquat Cake.
If you could already guess where this was going, this was my first time working with kumquats. I always see the mini, vibrant citrus at my local market or in the produce aisle and never before considered taking some home with me until now. As we head into spring and the end of winter citrus, I wanted to take advantage of the seasonal fruit. I threw a few handfuls of the little orange gems into a paper bag and started to think of ways to bake with them on my walk home.
What do you even do with a kumquat? Do you peel it? Juice it? Pop 'em straight into your mouth? I was pretty clueless. I first thought I'd make a kumquat buttercream, then kumquats baked right into a cake. In the end, I went with candied kumquats. I love candied lemon slices and figured kumquats would behave similarly. On their own, they are sweet but very tart. Candied with some vanilla bean and they become a refreshing little treat. The stars of this Chocolate Kumquat Cake.
For the cake, I wanted something simple and not too fussy. No layers of cake or mounds of frosting. I wanted the flavour of my candied kumquats to shine. I went with an easy chocolate bundt cake with almond icing. The cake was moist from a heaping amount of greek yogurt and the chocolatey taste was enhanced with some strong coffee. Chocolate and orange have always been a good match and I love citrus with almond. This combination was no exception. The flavours blended beautifully - a bright burst of citrus flavour in each bite.
Chocolate bundt adapted from Baked Occasions
Chocolate Kumquat Cake
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup strong, hot coffee
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/2 cup golden brown sugar
- 3/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- a few handfuls kumquats, about 20-25
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
- 1 cup confection's sugar
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, or to taste
- Preheat oven to 350. Liberally grease and flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix the cocoa and coffee together. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sifter together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the oil and sugar.
- With the mixer on medium, add in the vanilla, eggs, and yolks - one at a time
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- With the mixer on low, add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by the cocoa mixture.
- Add in half of the remaining dry ingredients followed by the buttermilk.
- Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Stop the mixer and fold in the yogurt until combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean or with only a few crumbs.
- Let cake cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before inverting out of the pan.
- Meanwhile, make the candied kumquat. Line a wire rack with paper towels or parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine.
- Heat sugar mixture over medium-high until mixture begins to boil.
- Meanwhile, slice each kumquat into about 4 thin slices.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer add in the sliced kumquats, vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla bean pod.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the centres of the kumquats become translucent.
- Remove kumquat slices with a slotted spoon and let drain/dry over the wire rack.
- For the icing, sift the confectioner's sugar into a mixing bowl.
- Stir in the cream and almond extract until smooth.
- Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake and top with candied kumquats