Gers Ogely – A light and dairy free cake from Kuwait flavoured with saffron and green cardamom, encrusted with sesame seeds.
The cuisine of Kuwait was this months MENA cooking club challenge, join us as we cook dishes and explore cuisines from countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
As usual we have 3 dishes to choose from, a savoury, soup/stew and a sweet. This month our savoury choices were chicken biryani or a fish stew and for a sweet gers ogely.
I did try the chicken biryani recipe linked above but found the rice overcooked. I know better really than to boil the rice for 15 minutes, it was cooked before it even went into the pot with the chicken sauce for further steaming.
The fish stew I really wanted to cook too as I discovered, the Kuwati diet is largely fish based. I didn’t get hold of dried limes or loomi that were part of the dish until towards the end of last week and then over the weekend I just wasn’t in the mood plus this cake is all I needed to convince me and hopefully you to cook more Kuwaiti dishes in future, in shaa Allah.
If you’re looking for a cake thats a bit different then this is the cake for you, intense with toasted sesame, honey-like saffron and floral almost citrus notes of green cardamom. The flavours work harmoniously and linger on the palate which is not what you expect from a dairy free cake and did I mention it’s light as a feather. a lot like angel food cake but with more substance.
I scoured the net for Gers Ogely recipes and ended up adapting this one.
How to make Gers Ogely
First take a tube pan and lightly grease it with oil, scatter with flour and sesame seeds.
For the best flavour, make your own ground cardamom by grinding the cardamom seeds from the green pods in a pestle and mortar. I gave my saffron threads a quick grind too.
Crack 6 whole eggs into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk a little until they start to froth.
Now gradually add your sugar whilst whisking and continue to whisk at high-speed for 10 minutes or until the mixture has reached thick ribbon stage / soft peaks.
like so, when the whisk is lift up the trail doesn’t disappear back into the mix.
Now in with the ground spices and whisk again for a minute or so…
sift and fold the flour into the mixture in no more than 3 stages, you don’t want to lose all that precious air.
Not from a great height, pour the cake batter into the tin. At this point I forgot to sprinkle the top with more sesame seeds, never mind I found a way to use them later. From a short height drop the cake tin on the countertop, this I think prevents large air pockets from forming so you have an even textured cake.
Bake at Gas Mark 4 for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Leave it to cool 5 minutes in the tin.
Before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
You can have the cake now as is the traditional way, it isn’t overly sweet, maybe sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar, have it with a cup of sweet tea OR try it this modern way; with a rose-water glaze and topped with toasted sesame seeds.
A light and dairy free cake from Kuwait flavoured with saffron, green cardamom and encrusted with toasted sesame seeds.
- For greasing the pan:
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 6 eggs (normal size)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- For rose water glaze:
- 175g/6oz icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 1-2 tablespoon water
- For decoration:
- toasted sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 355 degrees F / 180 degrees C / Gas Mark 4. Grease and flour a 9 inch / 23cm tube pan and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment or a large bowl and a hand mixer, whisk eggs until foamy, gradually add in sugar and continue to whisk for 10 minutes or until thick ribbon stage is achieved (see post for photo example).
- Add spices and whisk for a further minute or so before sifting and folding in the flour in no more than 3 stages. Pour cake batter into the tin and tap once to knock out any large air pockets. Bake in center of oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Place cake on a cake stand or plate, mix up your rosewater glaze ingredients then pour on top of the cake, wait until icing is half set before topping with toasted sesame seeds.
- Enjoy with a cup of tea or arabic coffee.
Hop along and see how other members fared this month cooking Kuwaiti dishes