You may be surprised at the use of bay leaves in this recipe, but I urge you to try it! They lend a gentle aromatic flavour and work wonderfully with orange zest. Serve a generous slice of this loaf warm with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or mascarpone.
Bay leaf and blueberry loaf
For the cake
- ½ cup whole milk
- 12 fresh bay leaves
- 150g butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 free range eggs
- 150g spelt or regular flour
- 50g ground almonds
- Pinch sea salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Finely grated zest of one orange
- 150g fresh or frozen blueberries
- Juice of one orange
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the milk and 4 of the bay leaves. Remove from the heat as soon as bubbles appear on the surface, and set aside to steep for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a 25cm x 10cm (or thereabouts) loaf tin. In whatever pattern you like, place the remaining 8 bay leaves into the base of the tin.
To make the batter, in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light, pale and fluffy. One by one, add the eggs, beating between each addition. Gradually add the flour, ground almonds, salt, baking powder, and orange zest. Stop your mixer as soon as everything is combined, being careful not to overmix.
Finally, fold through the steeped milk (discarding the bay leaves) and the blueberries, by hand.
Gently spread batter over the bay leaves in the loaf tin and smooth out so the top is flat. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden in colour and a knife inserted comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
To make the syrup, mix together the orange juice and icing sugar and, while the cake is still warm, drizzle it over top.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.