Joel and I returned from our coastal sojourn where the weather was warm, the setting picture perfect and the food was sensational. Then we walked in the door back home and panicked that we won’t get an opportunity to sneak away by ourselves for another 10 years. Please may it not be that long!!! But I have come home itching to be working through some recipes from the Spirit House. The food there was sensational, as always.
Last week I baked a cake which I have had bookmarked in my web browser to make for so long. I probably made this cake just a few weeks early as this is the ideal Winter cake. Oranges aren’t in season yet but I couldn’t resist baking this cake the other day. Mandarins are ready to be eaten so you could do a mandarin version. I used 2 oranges for the cake and used mandarins for the syrup but I will share the original recipe.
This is a beautiful cake. Absolutely beautiful. A flourless orange and almond cake is a winner in my book anytime but the syrup with orange, sugar and orange blossom water just takes this up a notch to dessert standard. Very decadent and one slice is enough. If you weren’t in the right frame of mind to have a sweet syrup drizzled over the cake then you could forgo the syrup and have the cake without very happily. Either way, a good dollop of cream finishes the cake perfectly.
The recipe is unclear when to pour the syrup on. I’m always inclined to pour syrup over hot cakes so it sucks up all the sugary goodness and I did that this time and it seemed to me that the cake went into shock and caved in slightly. Maybe it caves in slightly regardless being such a moist cake but next time I will try adding the syrup just before serving. I will leave it up to you to make this crucial call if you bake the cake.
persian orange and almond cake
1 1/2 cup (315g) caster sugar
3 cups (300g) almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
orange blossom syrup
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) water
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin.
Place oranges in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring up to the boil and cook for 15 minutes then drain and repeat with fresh cold water. Continue to do this until the oranges are very tender. Drain and chop up roughly discarding any pips. Blitz the orange in a food processor until smooth.
In a mixmaster whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and pale then add the orange, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom. Gently fold through until just combine and pour into prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool completely.
For the syrup, zest then juice the orange. Place the juice, sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Then leave the syrup to simmer away until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat and add the orange blossom water and zest. Set aside to cool then pour over the cake.
Serve the cake with whipped cream or mascarpone.