Weekend Baking – Orange Almond Cake with Dark Cocoa Dust
Weekends are the perfect time for baking – the cadences of life seem to take on a softer, more leisurely spring to its steps. I am in love with the aroma of something delicious baking in the oven and intoxicating my kitchen with its heady perfume.
During a recent “such” weekend, I decided to make a beautifully simple cake for a friend’s birthday. We decided to have wine and cake at home for a Girls’ Night In of gossips and movies, and I thought, “what better cake to make than a fragrant orange almond cake from a Donna Hay recipe?” I heard about how easy it is to whip up this cake, and decided to tackle it for the first time as a birthday cake, which was either a bit foolhardy or courageous (depending on how you look at it). I did, however, find the Donna Hay recipe a bit misleading on the cooking time, so I’ve tweaked it and also added a few extra ingredients to give it my personal touch.
I hope this recipe brings a smile to your day, as it’s so versatile, and perfect as a celebratory centrepiece, an afternoon tea delight, or simply something to make your day a little bit sweeter.
What you’ll need:
- 9 inch baking pan (or something of similar dimensions)
- a food processor
- 2 oranges, thoroughly washed
- 125g butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 eggs
- 2 cups of ground almonds
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 1/3 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- poppy seeds (optional)
- fine cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Wash the oranges thoroughly to remove all waxes and residues. Boil them in a pot of water for 10-15 minutes, or until you can easily sink a fork through each orange.
Carefully remove the oranges from the boiling water (and be mindful to not burn yourself!), cut and dice oranges to small 2cm pieces.
Drop the hot orange pieces into the food processor and pulse until the oranges are almost pureed. At this time, I like to add the butter as the hot orange puree will help melt the butter into the mix.
After the orange and butter (yum!) are well mixed together, add the rest of your ingredients – sugar, eggs, ground almonds, flour, baking powder, salt.
Pulse that all together into a smooth batter. Pour into a baking pan, sprinkle with poppy seeds and cook for 40 minutes. I noticed the Donna Hay recipe calls for 1 hour of baking, which is way too long in my view as the cake started to brown at 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, the cake should be golden. Set that to cool for a bit before removing it from the pan.
The Donna Hay recipe calls for a orange glaze, but I always believe that sweet, tangy orange and luminous dark chocolate make the perfect marriage. Hence, I dust my version of this cake with dark, fine cocoa powder (a prized VanHouten box of cocoa I got during a trip to Paris). The soft, luxurious dusting always feels like chocolate snow to me (dreamy!).
Bon Appetit! Now all that’s left is to cut yourself a piece (or two)!