- 225 gram unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup (80ml) orange juice
- 1 1/2 cup (225g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
- 300 gram fresh soft ricotta
- 1/2 cup (80g) icing (confectioners') sugar
- 2/3 cup (160ml) thick (double) cream (51% butter fat)
- 2 tablespoon sugar-coated fennel seeds
- 1Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a 10.5cm x 25cm loaf pan (top measure); line base and sides with baking paper.
- 2Beat butter, caster sugar, paste and rind in a medium bowl with an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, frequently scraping down the side of the bowl. Add juice and combined sifted flour and baking powder, and fennel seeds; beat on low speed until just combined. Spread mixture into pan.
- 3Bake cake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave cake in pan for 10 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto a wire rack to cool.
- 4Process ricotta and icing sugar until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl; fold in cream.
- 5Using a fine serrated knife, split cake in half. Place base layer on a platter; spread with half the ricotta cream. Top with remaining cake layer; spread top of cake with remaining ricotta cream. Sprinkle with sugar-coated fennel seeds.
Sugar-coated fennel seeds, form a mix called mukhwas, traditionally served as a breath freshener after an Indian meal. They are available from Indian grocers and specialist spice shops. The pound cake can be made a day ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature. Assemble on the day of serving.
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