26 Sep 2011

Orange and Almond Cake (plus bonus celebrity)

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(Pretty cake sign in the background courtesy of Simone)

It’s like ra-i-ain on your wedding day

It’s a free ri-hi-de when you’ve already paid

It’s arri-i-ving at the cake competition

When they announce the win-nerrr.

That’s what happened and I feel only Alanis would understand.

I and my current partners-in-crime here in London had our hearts set on bringing a cake for some benefit at Wilton’s Music Hall. The general Sunday laziness and temperatures soaring above 20 made us an hour late with our entry to the competition: An orange and almond cake.

We pulled out the shiny object only to find that they had decided (probably for health reasons) not to judge by taste but rather by the amount of play-dough/hobby paint skills displayed in the final product which made our cake completely superfluous. Below are some of the other entries. Note our cake on the top left, just above one of the winners. My favourite is the open cavity with candied cherries on top. That one was hilarious.

So in the end we did the only decent thing: Handed in the cake and went straight up and bought half of it back while maintaining that we were just anonymous fans of “that cake with the shining stuff on top”.

Orange and Almond Cake (slightly tweaked recipe by Camilla Plum)

  • 2 organic oranges
  • 225 grams almonds, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, only the seeds (keep the pod for another purpose)
  • 225 grams sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 75 grams good dark chocolate (here: Green & Black’s organic cooking chocolate, 72%)
  • 25 grams flaked almonds, lightly toasted

Put the whole oranges in a large saucepan, cover them with water, and boil them until the peel has turned slightly pale and it has all but cracked. It will take from 60-90 minutes depending on the stubbornness of the oranges. Meanwhile, peel the almonds, chop them coarsely, allowing a few larger bits if you like some resistance in your cake. Then slice the halved vanilla pod open, remove the seeds and mix them with a tablespoon of the sugar to separate them properly. Mix the almonds, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.

Turn the oven on to 160 degrees Celcius. Remove the cooked oranges from the saucepan. Now they should be soft enough to be pulled apart easily by hand. Make sure to remove any pips and then purée them into an even, kind of creamy paste, mix it with the dry ingredients and finally add the eggs one by one.

Use a regular sized round cake mould. If you choose the metal spring type, grease it with butter and dust it with regular flower before adding the cake batter, but if you have a silicone one you won’t need that. Bake on a tray just below the middle for about an hour or until the cake is soft but firm and nothing sticks to the fork. Be sure to check on it now and then as it does tend to scorch easily.

As soon as the cake has been removed from the oven, chop the chocolate coarsely and spread it out evenly on the still hot surface of the cake. You can choose to release the cake from the mould before adding the chocolate. That’s what I did here. Then, spread the melting chocolate and sprinkle the almond flakes on top. Done! Now skip off and be late for some do.


BONUS CELEBRITY AT WILTON’S: Barbara Windsor of Eastenders (who was being a really good sport):


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