One great thing about being a baking social media geek is that it is very obvious when ingredients come into season in the Winter. The summer is a lot easier as I share an allotment with my father, so I tend to bake whatever is in harvest. However it is lovely to have something other than apples and pears to bake with, something with a fresh and vibrant colour and taste.
This time of year one of my favourite ingredients comes back into season, blood oranges. If you have been looking at Pinterest recently, lots of recipes have been popping up. I had been planning an upside down cake for a while and have also been playing around with different sponge recipes.
I spotted some blood oranges in the local farm shop when we popped into their Cafe for a birthday breakfast treat for my wife.
So this weekend was a perfect time to bring it all together. A fat free almond and orange cake, made moist with two oranges that have been simmered for a couple of hours to remove any bitterness and then blitzed to a pulp and mixed into the egg, sugar and almond mixture.
I carefully thinly slice 3 blood oranges on a mandolin and simmer them in the juice of an orange and sugar .
The remaining syrup I had planned to reduce down to glaze the top. Unfortunately I got side tracked and burnt it to a cinder and spent the next hour with all the windows and doors open, clearing the acrid smoke from the house and praying that no one called the fire brigade. Once I could see further than my nose in the kitchen, I ventured back in and knocked up another pan of orange syrup.
You could sneak a glug of Grand Marnier or Cointreau into the syrup to give it an extra kick on these cold winter days.
I scrunched up the baking parchment to line the tin’s bottom and up the sides, then laid in the slices starting at the centre and working my way outwards, finishing slightly up the sides.
Once cooked and after dinner, I was dispatched to the garage to pick up some double cream to have with it. It is still the wife’s birthday weekend after all, I can be good on Monday.
175C/325F/Gas 3 – Serves 12
2 large oranges
6 free-range eggs
250g/9oz ground almonds
250g/9oz caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
2-3 blood oranges
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
- Rinse 2 oranges in hot water. Then add them to a large pan of simmering water and simmer gently for 2 hours.
- Leave the oranges to cool, chop up and remove any pips. Then put in a food processor or blender and whizz to a pulp.
- Slice 3 blood oranges thinly on a mandolin or with a sharpie knife.
- In a pan, add the water and caster sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the orange slices and simmer for about 15 minutes until the rinds become slightly translucent.
- Once cooked, remove the slices with a slotted spoon and allow to cool so you can handle them.
- Grease and line a 9 inch tin with baking parchment.
- Place the slices slightly overlapping all over the bottom of the tin, working outwards and slightly up the side to finish. Brush with a little of the syrup.
- Preheat the oven to 175C/155c fan.
- Beat the eggs and sugar together until they are light and fluffy and have reached the ribbon stage.
- Mix in all the remaining ingredients, including the orange pulp.
- Pour into the cake tin and cook for about an hour, until the cake is golden in colour and a a skewer comes out clean when inserted n the middle.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack, keeping the cake in the tin. When the cake has cooled, carefully remove from the tin and gently peel off the baking parchment.
- Brush the top with any remaining syrup to glaze.