Friday, 16 September 2011

Spanish Orange Cake

I'm eating a Terry's chocolate orange while I type this. I'm obviously hooked on sweet treats of the orange variety at the moment?

Last Saturday my sister-in-law (well almost) had a 'Spanish night'. She and her husband provided lots of tapas, sangria, olives and home-made spanish fare :) So my mother-in-law provided a trifle (not very spanish but no-one would complain, her trifles are amazing!) and I provided a desert with the Spanish element, a very aptly named 'Spanish cake'.

The Spanish cake recipe I used was somthing completely different to anything I've done before, it doesn't really sound like a cake when you read the ingredients and method, but it really works so well and tastes delicious. The bulk of the cake consists of beaten eggs and alot of ground almonds, with a generous amount of whole oranges, and, no flour whatsoever making it a great cake for anyone who may be wheat intolerant or sticking to a gluten-free diet.
The cake was wonderfully moist, yet quite dense too, but that was no bad thing. This cake would be greatly suited to an afternoon tea type thing, with some whipped double cream :P

The trick to getting this cake right is the whisking of the egg whites and folding of the mixture. You need a nice stif fluffy base of egg white for which to add your other ingredients or the cake will end up too dense and a bit flat.

Here's the cake:

And here's how you make it:


2 oranges, about 280 g cut into eights, including the skins!! (Maybe this cake would work really well with lemons too??)
5 large free-range eggs, separated

200 g caster sugar

220 g ground almonds

2 tbsp flaked almonds to decorate

sifted icing sugar to decorate

1.Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4)
2.Place your chopped oranges in a medium saucepan, discarding any pips. Add 1 tbsp of water, then cover and cook gently for 30 minutes or until the oranges are soft. Make sure you cook off any excess liquid. Now leave to cool.
3. Line the bottom and sides of a 20 cm springform cake tin with baking parchment. It's really important to do this, no matter how lazy you're feeling butter alone just won't do. You definitely need a tin with a bottom that pushes up with this to make it easier to remove as well. 
Now take the cooled oranges and finely chop them in a food processor or blender until they're almost mushy.

3.Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until they form stiff peaks. Or use a food processor with a whisk attachment. Maybe wipe a little lemon juice on anything you're using for your egg whites with this to ensure no grease / fat inhibits your fluffy peaks! Now gradually whisk in half the caster sugar, whisk thoroughly.

4. Now whisk the egg yolks with the remaining caster sugar in another (large) bowl for a couple of minutes or until pale and quite thick. Whisk in the finely chopped oranges, then carefully fold in the ground almonds with a metal spoon.

5.Stir in a couple of spoonfuls of the whisked egg white to loosen the mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites with a large metal spoon. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the top. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.

6.Bake for around 50 minutes or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Check the cake half way through, and cover lightly with foil if it's browning too quickly.

7.Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then turn it out, peel away the lining paper and transfer to a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
The cake can be kept in an airtight tin for up to 2 days.
Anyway, the cake went down a storm (though secretly you know everyone was loving that trifle more, it's so good!).

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