Sunday, 10 February 2013

Middle Eastern blood orange cake


 


I fancied baking something completely different and outside of my comfort zone this week.  When I saw blood oranges for sale I realised I had never eaten one, let alone baked with one.  I bought the oranges and then set about finding a recipe.


This recipe is from Claudia Roden’s  'A Book of Middle Eastern Food'.  I think of Claudia Roden as the Delia Smith of Middle Eastern cookery i.e. she’s totally reliable!  I’ve made several dinners from her recipes but never a cake so what a cracking recipe to start with!


The cake lacks two of the most common cake ingredients – butter and flour.  It is packed with eggs and almonds though, so that’s the first indication it will be fragrant and moist.


Boiling the oranges was certainly one of the odder things I’ve done (in the kitchen).  The smell while they were cooking was heavenly – the room had a gorgeous light citrus-y aroma that lingered long after the cooking was over.  Here is what a boiled orange looks like:


My blood oranges weren’t particularly dark in colour.  I was hoping for blood red and actually got a faint pink tinge that looked like my oranges were a little embarrassed about something.  Still, the puree had a wonderful rich colour:


The batter was much looser than a normal cake batter...


... more like a pulpy smoothie drink.  I was worried whether it would set during baking; it does but the finished cake is juicier than a sponge and the wet texture is a surprise on the first bite! (NB. The texture does firm up on subsequent days ending up almost like that tight baked cheesecake texture.  I recommend baking it at least one day before you wish to serve it.) All the fruity juices give the cake a wonderfully sticky exterior, particularly the top:



I have been baking pretty much every weekend for over seven years now and I find it thrilling that I can still find recipes completely unlike anything I’ve ever made before.  It really is impossible to ever say you’ve ‘mastered’ baking or done it all.  How lucky I am to have such a wonderful hobby!



Ingredients

oranges or 3 blood oranges
eggs
250g ground almonds
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

Start with the oranges: Place them (whole and unpeeled) in a saucepan and cover them in water – they will float but you want enough water so that if you hold them down they are covered.

Boil for 1 ½ hours or until they are squidgy soft but holding their shape.  You might need to periodically top up the water.

I decided my oranges were ready when I could cut through the peel with the edge of a teaspoon.

Take the oranges out of the saucepan (you don’t need the water) and leave to cool.

Cut the oranges open and remove the pips then place the oranges –peel, pith et al – into a food processor and blitz until you have a thick puree.

You can prep the oranges a day in advance and keep in the fridge overnight.

Now make the cake: preheat the oven to 190ºc/ fan oven 170ºc/375ºf/gas mark 5.

Line a 20cm round springform cake tin with baking paper.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl.

Add the ground almonds, caster sugar, baking powder and pureed oranges and mix thoroughly.

Pour into the prepared cake tin.  It won’t look like a traditional cake batter – more like a very thick smoothie drink!

Bake for approximately 1 hour. If it is still very wet give it a further 10 minutes and reassess the situation then.  It should look moist and almost set but not quite.

Leave to cool in the tin before turning out.

Serve as either a dessert or tea time treat.  Clotted cream works well!

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.

Eat.

27 comments:

Laura Loves Cakes said...

What a lovely and unusual cake..good on you for making something outside your comfort zone! I might have to take a look at Claudia's book as this recipe looks lovely and your cake looks delicious! :-)

Sharon said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm (reluctantly) gluten free but I can actually try this recipe. I've had such poor results with GF recipes that I'd given up and resigned myself to just enjoying your baking vicariously.

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Sharon

Glad to be of service - hope you enjoy it!

Happy baking

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

ooo blood oranges, boiling them would be out of my comfort zone too but it looks gorgeous! Lovely bake as usual x

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

Ahhh poor oranges, blushing away like that! I bought a bottle of blood orange juice yesterday- it was poking out the bag a little on the way home but the only part of the label that was visable to read was 'ORGANIC BLOOD'... the orange being hidden in the bag! It looked somewhat dodgy...

Gloria said...

omygod!! this look delicious and moist please I want a piece with a cup of tea!!

Fuss Free Helen said...

How delicious! I think that the recipe sounds very similar to Nigella's clementine cake (which I am sure does not have flour either.

I am on full blood orange alert and have not found any yet.

The type of blood orange makes a huge difference to the colour. If you have any left then do make blood orange curd. Delicious and a very pretty colour.

Ulla said...

I baked orange cake without butter early December. The oranges were boiled for that cake too. I found that recipe in Cake Craft and Decorating magazine. I love blood oranges, maybe I need to try this one too.

Mrs Deer said...

I love the color of your cake! the gradient is superb!
Delicious!!

Soo said...

Love blood oranges but as I read your post I realised I've never eaten an orange flavoured cake! Looks yummy!

Lucy said...

I love damp almond cakes like this, they make a refreshing and delicious change! I've been using blood oranges recently and its bizarre how some have such a deep pink colour whilst others are just like normal oranges.

Choclette said...

That cake looks just how I like them to be, moist and a bit squidgy. Not having any fat, other than what's in the almonds is really unusual. I want to try it now to see for myself what it is like. I've wanted some blood oranges to play around with, but annoyingly haven't found any - I did want blood red ones though, which I remember eating as a child.

Miss C Flash said...

Wow, an exotic and luxurious cake :-) x

sensibilia said...

You are right cake making is a wonderful hobby: she who is tired of cake is tired of life!

Nicola said...

This cake looks amazing! It looks incredibly moist.

Katie said...

Looks delicious and so moist and sticky. this is my favourite recipe for orange cake, but never throught it to try it with bloof oranges before. Love the faint blushing pink colour.
If you replace 50g of the almonds with cocoa powder you get a delicious choc orange cake!

Suelle said...

I love this recipe, and all the similar ones around, but I do think the result is best eaten as a dessert, with cream, rather than as a tea-time cake.

Maggie said...

Great cake - unfortunately, blood oranges don't seem to be around for long and they can be difficult to get. Not sure why because when I was a child we ate them lots.

Recipe Junkie said...

Ho fabulous does that look? I love these kinds of recipes. I have Roden's Spanish cook book but am ashamed to say I haven't tried anything from it yet.

Susie @ Fold in the Flour said...

I've seen recipes that involve boiling oranges before, but have never been brave enough to try them. Well done for doing it. Just shows you shouldn't be afraid to try anything as you never know what you'll discover. The finished cake looks lovely and most. :)

Jeane M. said...

Looked really yummy! Just perfect cause I've been craving for some citrus cake recently. Got my eye on your next posts.

Mrs Mulford said...

Love the look of the cake -can't say I've boiled whole oranges either. The texture reminds me of a lemon potato cake my daughter made - the texture was a surprise at first but then quite addictive!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I'm definitely making this one. I have been getting through bagfuls of blood oranges as Lidl sells a huge bagful for£2:99

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I'm definitely making this one. I have been getting through bagfuls of blood oranges as Lidl sells a huge bagful for£2:99

Cakelaw said...

Blood oranges are marvellous.

shri said...

Hello caked crusader. finally i can leave a comment. you are absolute fav baking buddy. absolutely. and u are my buddy even if we've never met :)
you've never failed me with your wonderful recipes, and they always turn out exactly as you say they will. having said this, this is the same recipe nigella has as a clementine cake in one of her earlier books, and in her book Feasts, she's done a chocolate orange one, which i tried out last week. It was wonderfully comforting (if a tad bitter for my 9 year old daughter.) i loved the texture the almonsd give the cake don't you. and i knew it was the same recipe, as soon as i saw your pic, cos my cake had that lovely textured top too.

Janine said...

Your description of this cake has really sold it to me! I now know what to make if I'm in the mood for a cake without icing.