Wednesday, 8 August 2007
The Orange Order
A freshly baked cake always assaults the nasal passages at great speed. Walk into any house where a bit of cake baking has been going on, and your tummy rumbles immediately. Tummy rumbling is often followed by the rumbler dropping loud hints to the house owner as to where the cake is. Shop bought cakes can be great, but freshly baked cakes can be outstanding.
When I first started to learn how to bake cakes, I was taken over by fear. It was a pre-conception of mine that the cake will always turn out to be a flat and sad little thing, as much of my early inventions were. Once you have cracked a good cake, there is no looking back and opportunities for new and exciting flavours are there to be experimented with. It really isn't difficult at all once you know the basic cooking process, and having a good and quick cake recipe up your sleeve is a very handy thing.
A truly sensational technique for making a great cake is to add a whole fruit. I don't mean skinning and chopping up a fruit, I mean boiling a whole one, skin and all, and then blitzing into a zesty purée. So, take an orange and boil it whole. Cut it in half, take out the seeds and whizz up in a blender. Fold that into a cake, and you are hit with amazing orange flavour in every bite. It also makes for a very moist cake that will stay moist and improve with a day of resting.
Experiment with limes and lemons. Even try a grapefruit. And perhaps use ground pistachios or hazelnuts instead of almonds. Food is to be experimented with, so why not? This cake is one that I have turned out so many times and it always has the desired effect. A vanishing effect. I sweetened this one up with a topping of icing sugar mixed with the juice of an orange, but that is your choice. Enjoy.
1 orange, boiled for 45 minutes, seeded and blitzed to a purée
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g ground almonds
Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 - Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees C, GM4.
2 - Butter and line a baking tin with a removable base.
3 - In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. This is important as it will lighten the cake.
4 - Add the eggs one by one, beating all of the time.
5 - Sieve in the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour in the ground almonds and orange purée and fold in thoroughly.
6 - Pour into the baking tin and bake on the middle shelf for 30-40 minutes until golden and an inserted knitting needle, or something similar, comes out clean.