By Jen Inglis
The secret to the stunning sunshine colour of this cake is using whole oranges. They are gently boiled then blitzed and stirred into the batter creating a beautifully simple grown up cake that is fragrant, moist, not too sweet and it uses ground almonds instead of flour so if you can find a gluten free baking powder it's suitable for coeliacs!
I really wanted to get this right as a vegan cake recipe by substituting the eggs with a mixture of oil and soya yoghurt, but as this is a really moist cake already I couldn't get it to work properly without the eggs this time. I think by experimenting further and adding some polenta to the mixture I could end up with a delicious vegan cake but it's still a work in progress.
I've used a cardamom syrup drizzle to bring an extra spice and a little more sweetness to the cake, and pomegranate seeds because everything is improved by being topped with these gorgeous little red rubies. The colours and orange scented stickiness of this cake eaten with a few spoons of thick Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche will transport you to the sunny holiday destination of your choice for as long as it takes it finish the slice. Best enjoyed during a long relaxed afternoon with plenty of coffee!
250g caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
300g ground almonds
5 cardamom pods
200g caster sugar
Few slices of thinly sliced orange to decorate
Seeds of 1 pomegranate (easy way to deseed is cut in half then crush the sides a little and smack the curved back of pomegranate firmly with a wooden spoon while holding over a bowl to catch seeds. Any white pith can then be removed)
Slivered or flaked almonds
First prepare the syrup. Crush cardamom pods and place in a pan along with sugar and water. Heat till the sugar has dissolved then add orange slices and gently simmer for 15 mins. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Next prepare oranges. If you've got unwaxed organic ones that is perfect otherwise you'll need to remove the wax. Soak oranges in boiling water for a few minutes then scrub to remove wax. Then place in a pan of water, bring to boil then simmer for at least 1.5 hours or till the oranges are soft to touch. Then drain off water and blitz oranges skin and all into puree and allow to cool.
Beat sugar and eggs together then add salt, baking powder and ground almonds. Lastly add orange puree and mix well. Place in cake tin prepared with baking parchment and bake at 160 degrees for 60 minutes. A test skewer should come out clean.
Leave cake in tin. Remove cardamom pods from syrup and pour 4-5 tbsps over the cake and allow to soak in. Then once cool remove cake from tin and decorate with pomegranate seeds, slivered or flaked almonds and orange slices.