Lemon & Olive Oil Cakes with lemon and cardamom syrup, crème fraiche and pistachios

Makes: 12

juice and zest of 3 lemons
300 ml water
250 ml castor sugar
10 cardamom pods, squashed to expose seeds

½ c (125 ml) Greenleaf Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ c (60 ml) milk
¼ c (60 ml) water
3 large eggs
1 c (250 ml) castor sugar
½ tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla paste
zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ c (375 ml) cake flour
1 Tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
2 ml salt

To serve:
250 ml crème fraiche
100 g pistachios, removed from shells

Preheat the oven to 180°C (non-fan assisted).
Add all the syrup ingredients to a small pot and heat gently until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until slightly reduced. It is not a thick syrup. Remove cardamom pods.

Lightly grease 12 mini loaf tins or use a muffin tray.

In a small pot, heat the olive oil, milk and water together until warm (not boiling).

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Add the vanilla and zest.

Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt into the egg mixture and add the warm olive oil mixture. Use a spatula to fold ingredients together until it becomes a smooth batter.

Pour batter halfway into the mini loaf tins or muffin tray and bake for 15 minutes.

Prick holes immediately into the cakes using a fork and pour the hot syrup over each cake. Allow syrup to soak into the cakes for +- 20 minutes in the tins. Remove from tins and cool completely on a wire rack.

Blanch the pistachio nuts, roast in the oven for 5 minutes to dry out and bring out the flavour. Roughly chop.

To serve: Top the syrup soaked cakes with crème fraiche and pistachios. Garnish with more lemon zest.