It’s a tantalizing cake. It has taunted me since Malou posted the recipe in a comment last April; the season of oranges had passed.
As winter came again the cake was on my mind. I meant to bake it for a skiing weekend; then didn’t. This week, finally, I did.
It is a cake for snowy days. When the light is low, the trees are bare, and the cold air breathtaking. The cake, by contrast, is light, spongy, melting. The sunny flavor of oranges with more than a hint of bitter from the pith.
It’s surprising, addictive, and leaves you wondering how the score might be played a dozen other, slightly different ways.
I love it. With tea.
With many thanks to Malou for the recipe
2 large untreated oranges
6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (250 g) sugar
2 generous cups (250 g) ground almonds
2 tsps baking powder
Candied orange slices for decoration (optional):
1 untreated orange
1 cup (200 g) sugar
Place 2 oranges in a small saucepan, cover with water, and simmer slowly for 2 hours, adding water if necessary.
Remove the oranges from the water and let cool. Cut the oranges in half, then each half again in two. Remove pips if necessary. Purée the oranges in a food processor. (The orange purée can be made a day in advance.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a 9 inch (24 cm) baking tin with parchment paper that should be buttered generously.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the orange purée, the ground almonds, and the baking powder, and mix well until thoroughly combined.
Pour the batter into the tin, slide into to oven, and bake for 1 hour, until a knife or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
For the candied orange slices:
In a small saucepan, make a sugar syrup with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
Slice the orange as thinly as possible. Add the slices to the syrup, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the slices carefully one by one, and place them on a rack or parchment paper to dry for about half an hour. Return the orange slices to the syrup, and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Let the slices dry for at least 1/2 hour. Reduce the syrup until it thickens and reserve.
When ready to serve, place a few orange slices on top and drizzle with a little syrup. **The cake gets even better after a day or two, so it should ideally be made in advance.**
Note: The candied orange was not in the original recipe, but I thought they looked nice and added a little something. However, the cake being very soft it is difficult to cut through the candied orange on top of the cake, so it is best cut on the side as the cake is served.