Posts Tagged ‘raisin cakes’

So I continued reading  Hosea this week and I came across this verse:

“…even as the Lord loveth the children of Israel, though they turn unto other gods, and love cakes of raisins.” (Hosea 3:1)

Now, I figure that this verse can be parsed in a few different ways – either the children of Israel love cakes of raisins – or indeed the Bible is referring here to something that is called a “love cake” 0r a “love cake of raisins.” Well, as you can imagine I was immediately curious. What in the world is a LOVE CAKE??

Turns out there are traditions for “love cakes”  in quite a few cultures, namely: Portuguese, Sri Lankan, PersianItalian and British.

But it seems like the Bible is referring to some kind of cake that was used for idol worship – perhaps as opposed to the “cakes” that were baked for the holy temple and sacrifices, which certainly never included raisins and were a mixture of grain, oil and spices. The British version of Love Cake to me seemed like the closest type of thing that might be referred to here – small, basic, little cakes made of simple pastry and filled with raisins that could be brought to one’s beau in the field. But various sources seem to suggest that raisin love cakes might have been some form of candy confection, perhaps akin to Halvah or Turkish Delight.

I’m not advocating any kind of idol worship here, but when I thought of “love cakes of raisins” the thing that first came to mind was the British version of a cinnamon bun – a Chelsea Bun, and I’d been wanting to make Chelsea Buns for a long time. So I jazzed up my version of a “love cake of raisins” and gave it a Middle Eastern spin, combining some of the flavors of the Portuguese, Persian and Sri Lankan versions with a traditional Chelsea Bun. Hopefully it won’t inspire any idol worship. Though I have heard that cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and vanilla are aphrodisiacs, so…baker beware!

Middle Eastern Love Cakes with Raisins (Not Your Mother’s Chelsea Buns…)

Raisin cakes 8

2 tsp. dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
pinch sugar
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp rose water (I use concentrated)
1 tsp. vanilla
7 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
4 cups flour

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup demarara sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup apricot jam

1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped apricots
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1 Tbsp. apricot jam to brush on top

1/4 cup cream or milk (non-dairy is fine too)
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Place yeast, warm water and a pinch of sugar in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes until frothy and active. Add milk, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, rosewater, vanilla. Mix. Add 7 Tbsp. melted margarine or butter, mix. Then add 2 cups flour, mix, then add another 1.5 cups, mix again, then add the last half of a cup until it forms a nice, soft dough. Let the dough rise in a lightly greased bowl for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

Prepare filling: melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine, mix with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla, and apricot jam. Chop apricots and crystallized ginger.

When dough has risen to twice its size, punch it down and roll it out to about 1/4 in thickness in a big rectangle. Spread with filling and top with raisins, chopped apricots and crystallized ginger. Roll up into a big log. Close the seam well. Then slice the log into rounds. Place the rounds in a greased pan. Brush with apricot preserves.

Raisin cakes 2 Raisin cakes 4 Raisin cakes 5 Raisin cakes 6

Bake at 350 degrees (175 C) for about 30 minutes or until the cakes are a deep golden brown on top.

When cakes are cool, mix cream or milk with powdered sugar and drizzle on top. Serve and enjoy!

Raisin cakes 10


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