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ORANGE AND ALMOND CAKE

5 April 2014


There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour, if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby

Well readers, call me your butler. This cake may not contain the juice of two hundred oranges, but it's so sunny that you might just be able to fool your eaters. 

As those who are kind enough to read my (banal, generally greed-founded) tweets will know, I am a summer-ite to the absolute letter. While sun-worshipping in the UK is rarely a rewarding occupation, I find it hard to forgive low-spirits when the sun is shining. Luckily, this cake is the perfect substitute for those days (or weeks, or months) when Mr Sunshine is feeling coy. 

I made my own Orange curd to fill this bad-boy, and will blog my recipe (adapted from M.Berry's, of course) soon. And I really will, scouts honour. I've been negligent of late and have every intention of furiously bribing you with sugar-based tibbits to forgive me. Our lovely friend Nancy moves in with us this week, and being a long-standing advocate for moist cakes, you can rest assured we'll be baking this little number again very soon.



THE INGREDIENTS
150g butter
150g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
zest of 2 oranges
4-5 tbsp orange curd
100g mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
100g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice 

THE RECIPE
Line a 6 inch cake tin with baking parchment, and preheat your oven to 180C. Next, weigh the softened butter and caster sugar into a large bowl, and beat until creamed and pale. Add the eggs and 1 tbsp of the almonds, and beat until smooth and combined. Add the remaining ground almonds, baking powder and orange zest, and beat until mixed through. Spoon into the prepared tin, and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and springy. Once cooked, allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Slice the cake in half, and cover one half with the orange curd. Seperately, mix the vanilla into the mascarpone, then carefully spread over the curd and place the second half on top to sandwich. Mix the icing sugar with enough orange juice to make a thick icing, and drizzle over the cake to finish. 

Serve with sunshine, weather permitting.

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