Last week my friend and fellow blogger Lara, who blogs as Thornberry, asked me to make a cake for her book group.
We have a semi-regular play date on a Tuesday morning so our 5 year olds can get play while we drink coffee, eat cake and do some knitting and crochet. The last time we got together I made an apple tea cake from a recipe of my great-aunty Alma.
It’s a deliciously moist cake topped with slices of apple and dregged with sugar and cinnamon before baking. It was one my grandmother would make for her friends when they came for afternoon tea. My brother and I would be lucky enough to get a piece when we visited a few days later. It was always spread thickly with butter or served with lashings of cream as Granny claimed it was “a bit dry”. It never was, but no-one complained.
A few weeks ago I had made an orange semolina cake with blood orange syrup for Father’s day. Lara was lucky enough to get some of the leftovers. So when her request came, she asked if I could make an orange cake or and apple tea cake.
I still had some blood oranges left from making Marathon Maramalade and had been thinking about making a flourless orange cake with them. I suggested this to Lara and she was happy with the idea.
I used Stephanie Alexander’s recipe from Cook’s Companion for Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern Orange Cake. It’s always moist and delicious but notoriously hard to get to cook all the way through without burning the edges. I followed Stephanie’s advice to use a tin that allows for the batter to be no more than 6 cm deep. I also lined the sides of the tin with three layers of baking paper to offer some protection to the sides of the cake.
I used 4 small blood oranges in a pot of water and cooked until tender. The recipe said 2 hours but as my oranges were small and thin skinned so they only took an hour. I removed them from the pot and cut them into quarters so they’d cool quicker.
When it came out of the oven, the cake was cooked perfectly all the way through and didn’t sink in the middle. I really wanted to cut a slice and have a taste, but as it was for an order, I couldn’t! I thought about dusting the cake with icing sugar but as it was to be served later it would have melted. The other option was an orange icing but upon further investigation, the pantry was bare of icing sugar.
I finally decided to make blood orange compote to serve with the cake as a little something extra on the side. Segmented oranges and orange zest were placed in a bowl. I made then a light caramel to which orange juice was added then poured over the top of the fruit and allowed to cool. I’m told it tasted “superb”. Thanks to Lara for the great photos.
I have a few blood oranges left and it’s my partner’s birthday in a few days. I think I’ll have to make another Flourless Blood Orange Cake so I can get a piece!