These Fried Honey Citrus Cakes are a subtly sweet, sticky, perfect bite sized treat.
This week for #SundaySupper we’re exploring Middle Eastern foods. I have to admit, when I first saw the theme for this week, I was kinda clueless. Middle Eastern food is one that I have yet to explore, but I’m always up for a challenge, so I started looking for a recipe that would fit the bill.
I recently found the cookbook, Essential Mediterranean, on the clearance shelves at Barnes and Nobles (score!). I have a hard time resisting a new cookbook, especially when it’s chock full of beautiful full-page color photos. I’d been wanting to dive into Mediterranean food for awhile, and this seemed as good a place as any to start. It breaks down the classic cuisine of the Mediterranean by region, giving Italy, France, Greece, and Turkey their own sections. Lucky for me, there just so happened to be another section dedicated solely to the cuisine of the Middle East and North Africa.
For some reason, I have an idea in my mind that Middle Eastern cuisine is difficult to prepare, uses ingredients I don’t have, or will inevitably cause stress, hair pulling, and/or fits of tears. But what I found as I thumbed through the pages of this cookbook were recipes that were beautiful and easy to prepare. Recipes that depend on fresh meats, warm spices, and vegetables to make simple, flavorful meals.
And then there’s this little gem–Fried Honey Citrus Cakes. The picture hooked me. What’s not to love here? Little balls of cake deep fried and then covered in a sweet, sticky glaze? I was SO in.
I don’t always fry things, but when I do, I make sure it’s cake covered in sugar syrup.
Really though, it’s rare that I’m willing to deal with the general mess that is deep frying, but this? This was so worth it.
The batter for these “cakes” is really more like a bread batter–it’s thick and sticky and elastic–but unlike bread dough, this batter smells like an orange grove. *Dreamy.* It takes about 5 minutes to mix up, but requires an hour of rest time before rolling out. You can use a biscuit cutter or juice glass to cut out small circles of dough, which then get plopped in hot oil and fried until puffy and golden brown.
Then comes the glaze. Holy moly this glaze. This is really just a simple syrup with the added flavor boost of honey, lemon juice, and orange zest. It’s really not much different from the Lavender Simple Syrup or Vanilla Simple Syrup that I use for coffees/cocktails and in my series on How to Make Tea Lattes. Here it just uses citrus flavors and makes a sweet, sticky, shiny glaze that you bathe all the fried cakes in before eating.
So there you have it–a towering plate of puffy, fried, orange-scented cakes smothered in a honey lemon glaze. I recommend eating these warm with a cup of hot tea. If you have leftover glaze after dunking the cakes, feel free to pour the rest over the plate, or use it as a dipping sauce. Trust me, you won’t be sorry.
One quick note, despite the frying and the cakiness and the glaze factor, these are not donuts. They’re much less sweet, and more delicate and subtle than a typical donut.
They have just the right amount of sweetness to make your taste buds smile, but not so much that your fillings hurt. Which makes them perfect for breakfast. At least, that’s how I’ve been eating them. #dontjudgeme
And if you can’t get enough sweet donut-y goodness, then check out my Asian Buffet Style Chinese Donuts!
For the cakes:
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup caster (superfine sugar) - You can sub granulated sugar, or give granulated sugar a little pulse in the food processor to break down the granules)
- 2 cups all purpose flour + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- About 4 extra Tablespoons flour, for rolling
For the glaze:
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/3 cup honey
- Zest of one orange
- Vegetable Oil, for deep frying
Recipe adapted from Essential Mediterranean.