After spending a while making the crystallised orange peel on Sunday, I of course had to make a cake for them to top, right away. Luckily Andy’s parents were coming over on Monday evening. I could not find the recipe I wanted, so I created a new one, based on 3 recipes from my National Trust teatime book.
Not much left after we all had a slice, and I sent some home with them too for another day.
Orange and Almond cake
225g butter (pure spread)
225g caster sugar
Juice of 2 oranges
100g ground almonds
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond extract
Icing and glaze (optional)
Juice of one orange, divided in two lots
50g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 160C, and line a 20cm round cake tin.
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and orange juice, and mix well.
Add flour, ground almonds, baking powder and almond extract, and stir gently to combine.
Pour into pan, and bake for 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean.
To make it extra moist, mix together juice of half an orange and a tablespoon of icing sugar, and pour this over the cake while it is still warm- leave it in the tin to cool.
Then, turn it out and top with orange icing (juice of the other half of the orange, mixed with about 50g icing sugar), and then of course make it pretty with the crystallised orange peel.
It was delicious, even if I say so myself! The ground almonds and the orange glaze make it so sticky and moist, and the orange peel on top is zingy. I also feel like it is the sort of cake I would expect to have in a tea-room, which always pleases me greatly.
Right, well on to the project from the weekend- making crystalised orange peel. I watched Rachel Allen on the TV make it for a chocolate orange cake, and as I had a bag of oranges (for the Christmas cakes I needed zest) I thought it was the perfect time to try.
I followed the recipe from here, and it went very well (except for the losing half my thumb nail part).
First you peel the oranges (I used 3)- and slice the peel into matchstick sized pieces. After peeling a few slices, I managed to peel my thumb nail- at first I thought it was just my nail varnish, but no it has split the nail too. So Andy finished it for me!
You place them in a pan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Then you drain the water, and repeat. This removes any bitterness from the peel. Then prepare a baking tray by lining with baking paper.
Next up, set the peel aside, and in the same pan mix 150ml water and 150g caster sugar- stir to dissolve the sugar, and then simmer for 2 mins without stirring. Then add the peel in, and simmer for 6-8 mins, until the strips look glossy and translucent.
(This was the bit I found trickiest, well, apart from the peeling)- remove using a sieve or slotted spoon (a spoon worked better, because the syrup was very sticky)- place on to the baking tray and leave to cool.
Then coat in more caster sugar (once cool)- move it around to each strand is coated.
It will keep in an airtight container for one month, but be warned, it is tasty on its own! I have seen recipes where it is then dipped in melted dark chocolate, which sounds to me like a lovely addition to a Christmas hamper. But I also think they look so pretty, and really added a little something to make the cake look more special than just using regular icing.
I had a run after work yesterday, and that was fine although I felt quite tired. Anyway, all of today I have been feeling a bit dizzy, and no idea why (any ideas? Someone at work suggested an ear infection but I feel fine other than that- actually I feel like how I felt when I was coming off the anaesthetic and I have not had any more of that I am sure!). So I decided to give aerobics a miss tonight as I thought that all the jumping and spinning would be a recipe for me falling over (or worse).
Instead I made myself a cardamom chai latte, with one of the Tea India teabags, and some warm almond milk. Yum.
What cake would you choose in my virtual tea room?