Orange pound cake with candied cumquats

As the name suggests, pound cakes originally consisted of a pound each of sugar, butter, flour and eggs, which made them very large cakes.



1.Make candied cumquats. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add cumquats; cook for 1 minute. Drain. Repeat process (this helps to remove any bitterness and soften the rind). Place sugar and the water in a small saucepan over low heat; stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; bring to the boil. Add cumquats; simmer gently for 30 minutes or until soft and translucent. Cool cumquats in syrup.
2.Preheat oven to 170°C/340°F. Grease two 15cm (6-inch) round cake pans; line base and side with baking paper.
3.Split vanilla bean; scrape seeds into a medium bowl of an electric mixer (keep vanilla bean for another use). Add butter, caster sugar and rind to bowl; beat for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl frequently. Add juice and combined sifted flour and baking powder; beat on low speed until just combined. Divide mixture between pans.
4.Bake cakes for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand cake in pans for 10 minutes, before turning out onto wire racks to cool.
5.Process ricotta and icing sugar until smooth; transfer to a medium bowl. Beat cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks just form. Fold cream into ricotta mixture.
6.Level top of cakes; brush each with 1/3 cup of the cumquat syrup. Place one cake on a cake stand or plate; spread with half the ricotta cream. Finish with second cake and remaining ricotta cream. Decorate with candied cumquats; serve with remaining syrup.

The cake and candied cumquats can be made a day ahead. Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature and cumquats in the fridge.


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