This deliciously moist cake will keep up to three days in an airtight container. Dust the cake with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature with reserved syrup and whipped cream.


Quince. This perfectly imperfect member of the rose family and relative of apples and pears has a floral, honey-like perfume that will delightfully scent your home as it ripens. The true beauty of the quince is revealed as it cooks, when, like magic, its flesh turns from snow white to deep rose pink.

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Serves 8

POACHED QUINCE:
1 1⁄2 cups superfine sugar 6 cups water
thick piece fresh orange peel
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)
3 large quinces

CAKE:
1 3/4 cup self-raising flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup + 1 teaspoon butter,
diced and softened
3 eggs, at room temperature
1⁄3 cup quince syrup, cooled, plus remainder for topping and serving cake
3 teaspoons fresh orange rind, grated
1 tablespoon powdered sugar for serving
whipped cream for serving
  1. For the poached quince, combine sugar and water in a large saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Stir in orange peel and rosemary. Peel, quarter, and core each quince placing into the sugar syrup as you go.
  3. Reduce heat and cover with a cartouche (see note) and a lid.
  4. Gently simmer for 1 hour or until the quince is tender when pierced with a skewer. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the quince from the syrup to a plate, then set aside to cool completely. When cool, slice each of the quince wedges into thirds.
  5. Continue to simmer the syrup for another 30 minutes or until reduced to about 2 cups.
  6. Remove and discard orange peel and rosemary. Pour syrup into a heatproof container and allow to cool.
  7. For the cake, preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9-inch loose-bottom springform pan with melted butter, and line the base with parchment paper.
  8. Place the flour, sugar, butter, eggs, 1⁄3 of cooled poaching syrup, and grated orange rind in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high, and beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is very pale and creamy.
  9. Place the flour, sugar, butter, eggs, 1⁄3 of cooled poaching syrup, and grated orange rind in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high, and beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is very pale and creamy.
  10. Bake for 11⁄2 hours or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Remove from oven and place the cake in its pan onto a wire rack over a tray.
  12. Heat the remaining poaching syrup until just warm, and slowly pour 1⁄2 cup of warm syrup over the warm cake. Return the remaining syrup to a simmer until reduced by half (about 3⁄4 cup should remain). Reserve for serving.

TIP:

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This deliciously moist cake will keep up to three days in an airtight container. Dust the cake with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature with reserved syrup and whipped cream.
Photography by China Squirrel

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