A Boiled Orange is the secret to this moist Italian Orange Almond Cake August 17, 2016
Trust the Italians to take an ingredient and transform it so that it doesn’t just flavour the dish, it is the dish. This orange and almond cake doesn’t get an orangey flavour from a little zest. It actually uses a boiled orange to provide not only the essence of orange, but the moistness that makes this cake even better a few days after baking.
Boiling an orange for an hour might seem like a lot of work, but trust me when I tell you that the transformation is worth the effort. Give me your lumpy ugly oranges, your last-of-the-seasons, your huddled summer masses, and I promise you they will be become the most amazing sweet pulped base you could possibly imagine. After trying the results for the first time, I couldn’t believe the taste! Somehow, this is ‘orangier’ than, well, an orange. It’s almost difficult to imagine that this flavour is created without adding any extra sugar or adding anything artificial. But here it is. The perfect Italian answer to “What do we do with all these oranges?”. Best served with a piping hot espresso, naturally.
- 1 large orange weighing approximately 350 g (or 2 smaller ones)
- 6 free range eggs
- 250 g ground almonds
- 250 g granulated sugar
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder
- butter and flour/breadcrumbs or matzo meal for the tin
Wash the orange(s), put it in a pan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for an hour and a half or until it is extremely soft when pricked with a fork. Remove the orange from the pan, let it cool, then cut it open and remove any pips. Turn the orange into a pulp by pressing it through a sieve or by using an immersion blender. If you try a spoonful at this stage, you can taste the change in state that the orange undergoes – it will be sweetened and perfectly moist.
Prepare a cake tin – ideally with a loose base – by rubbing it with butter and then dusting it with flour. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the pulped orange, beat again, then add the almonds, sugar and baking powder and beat again until you have a thick, even batter. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for between 40 – 60 minutes. Have a look at the cake after 40 minutes it should be golden and set firm. Try testing with a wooden skewer- it should come out almost clean, as opposed to very sticky with a clingy batter. If the cake does need another 10 mins, pop some aluminium foil over the top of it so it doesn’t get too brown.
Let it cool in the tin before turning it onto a plate and dusting with a little icing sugar, if you like.
Serve with a dollop of double cream and espresso – Italian style!
Still stuck for dinner ideas?