A cake to cheer you up and natural firelighters

A really rather superior cake.

I’ve been pretty flat thus far this month. In part because there is loads of bad news around, it’s end of year accounts time, tax is due, it’s not Christmas, all those things you put off until after Christmas can no longer be ignored, everyone is miserable, George Osborne is still chancellor and also because January just generally is the arse-end month of the calendar. The only good point in it is my mother’s birthday.

We usually book a little weekend away in Jan or Feb to cheer ourselves up. But not this year.

Anyway. Two things that cheer me up are real fires and cake and the two are connected today by: oranges.

Orange peel, left to dry a bit, makes excellent firelighters. I doubt they’d be an alternative to shop-bought, kerosene soaked firelighters, but they are a good addendum to them and also smell nice. I had two oranges that I’d studded with cloves for Christmas, you know the sort of thing. And they’d started to go off and dry up and I put them on a really roaring fire and the smell was amazing. As was the glow of the cloves..nut shells also burn well (because of the oils, same reason orange peel does). So save up all your pistachio shells to put on the fire.

Jesus, could that sentence sound more middle class.

Cake. I saw this recipe in the Waitrose magazine this month and earmarked it for the weekend (I don’t eat cake during the week). I made it last weekend and it’s a really excellent cake. The sponge is heavy with ground almonds which gives it a dense crumb but an amazing taste. I loathe icing sugar heavy icings – those that are nothing more than icing sugar and water or butter (why why why would anyone eat such things?) and have a glycaemic index of 112, and this is at least a bit better for you as it uses mostly Greek yoghurt and mascarpone.

I would link to the goddam recipe but Waitrose magazine hasn’t put it online yet the bastards.

for the cake

125g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs
100ml single cream
250g ground almonds
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
half a teaspoon of salt
zest of one orange
3 tablespoons of seville orange marmalade

for the syrup

the juice of one orange
1 tablespoon of seville orange marmalade

for the frosting

150g mascarpone
125g Greek yoghurt
4 tablespoons of icing sugar
2 tablespoons of seville orange marmalade
the zest and juice of half an orange

You need two 20cm cake tins lined in baking parchment.
Oven to 180C.

Using an electric mixer (I used the whisk attachments) beat the butter and  sugar for five long, boring minutes until it’s light and fluffy or at least, til 5 mins have passed.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the cream, then the almonds. Once mixed together, I took it off the whisk and did the rest by hand: folded in the flour, baking powder and salt, then the orange zest and marmalade.

Divide between the tins and bake for 20-25 mins until a skewer comes out clean. You know the drill.

The recipe says to wait til the cakes are cooled to pour on the syrup. I didn’t really. I left them for a bit then made the syrup and poured on whilst the cakes weren’t cool. Be warned however: keep the cakes in the tins whilst you pour the syrup on as there’s a lot of syrup and you want to contain everything.

So, to make the syrup you combine the two ingredients and warm gently in a saucepan  until the marmalade has dissolved, then prick the two cakes and pour over evenly.

Now leave the cakes until they are completely cooled. Disrobe them from their parchment and now make the icing which you do thus:

Beat all the frosting ingredients together, reserving a sprinkle of orange zest which you’ll use for decoration. Sandwich the cakes together with it, then put some icing on the top. Sprinkle with the zest.

Delicious.

Although I haven’t tried it, I think this cake might respond well to being made with rice flour.

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6 thoughts on “A cake to cheer you up and natural firelighters

  1. Gill

    Fabulous cake, thank you! I only had blood oranges, though, which gave it a slightly psychedelic tinge. Sadly George Osborne is still chancellor, but you can't have it all…

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Blueberry and yoghurt loaf cake | Pane Amore e Cha Cha Cha

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