Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr
With spongelike layers and fluffy filling, this cake is a delicious dessert excellent for any occasion. There are four options for filling — whipped cream, chocolate whipped cream, meringue, and crema (a thick sugar-flour custard) — but favorite is whipped cream. If you ever have one, you should pair with either coffee or champagne.
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 cup lemon zest (Minced zest)
- 1⁄2 cup orange zest (Minced zest)
- 1 (2 1/2 teaspoon) envelope active dry yeast
- 2⁄3 cup milk, heated to lukewarm (90 F to 100 F)
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons orange flower water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra
- all-purpose flour, for dusting, and
- olive oil, for preparing pan
- 1⁄2 cup candied fruit, finely chopped (optional)
- whipped cream (optional) or chocolate whipped cream (optional) or meringues (optional) or pastry cream, optional for filling (optional)
- In a food processor or blender, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and both citrus zests and process on high speed until you have a mixture of fine particle. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand for about 5 minutes, or until foamy.
- Add sugar-zest mixture, the butter, 2 of the eggs, the orange flower water, and the salt and stir with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are well mixed.
- Add half the flour to the milk mixture and mix with your hands until well blended. Add the remaining flour and continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated.
- Knead the dough in the bowl for a few minutes until it is smooth, flexible, and no longer sticky.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest in a warm spot for about 1 hour, or until it has roughly doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to its lowest setting and brush rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
- Punch down the dough. On a floured work surface, using your palms, roll the dough back and forth until it forms a log about 30 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and bring the ends together to form a circle with a hole in the center 4 to 5 inches in diameter, forming a "crown." Alternatively, divide the dough in half and form 2 logs each 15 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Form the logs into 2 crowns on the baking sheet.
- Fill an ovenproof bowl with water and place it at the rear of the oven.
- Place the baking sheet with the dough crown in the oven. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour, or until nearly doubled in size.
- Remove the pan from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400°F Break the remaining egg into a small bowl, beat until blended, and brush it onto the crown(s). Scatter the candied fruits evenly over the top(s), if desired, and sprinkle evenly with the sugar.
- Bake the cake(s) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool on the pan.
- Transfer to a serving plate and serve at room temperature.
- If desired, carefully slice the cake in half lengthwise. Spread the inside with the filling of your choice and top with the other half of cake.