30 July, 2008

Gâteau à l'Orange

I shall be baking four cakes in the next couple of days which is rather more than normal. They are for a tea party on Saturday afternoon at my mother's house so must keep and must be able to travel, so I've decided to do two orange cakes and two chocolate chestnuts. The orange ones will be done today.

This recipe is from one of my favourite cookery books: The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden. I first saw it over someone's shoulder on the top deck of 73 bus into work. It's that kind of book, the kind of book you read for pleasure. It is a very personal book, a history of a culture through food, with wonderful pictures, some jokes and fantastic recipes.

In particular I love the cake recipes which are generally simpler than the norm and work beautifully. There's the one I'm using today, a brilliant Danish Apple cake, a moist and dark chocolate almond cake. It's excellent if you want to do gluten-free cakes as many feature almonds not flour.

Nigella does a similar cake to this one in How to Eat featuring clementines. I prefer this one, I think, because somehow the orange has a rather more grown-up flavour, more bite to it. At first it seems odd to puree the whole orange, peel and all and use it in a cake, but once you've done it, you see what genius it is. The cake is moist, rich and wonderfully orangey. I've always wondered if you could do the same with lemons but I suspect you'd have to use more sugar and that would unbalance the texture. Maybe one day I shall experiment but not for Saturday's tea party.

Gâteau à l'Orange

Serves 12 or more

2 oranges
6 eggs
250g (9oz) sugar
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
1 teaspoon baking powder
250g (9oz) blanched almonds, coarsely ground

Wash the oranges and boil them whole for 1 1 ⁄2 hours or until they are soft.

Beat the eggs with the sugar. Add the orange blossom water, baking powder and almonds and mix well. Cut open the oranges, remove the seed, and purée in a food processor. Mix thoroughly with the egg and almond mixture and pour into a 23cm (9 inch) oiled cake tin dusted with matzo meal or flour - preferably non-stick and with a removable base. Bake in a pre-heated 375°F/190°C/gas 5 oven for an hour. Let it cool before turning out.


Elizabeth Musgrave said...

How nice to find your blog from your visit to mine and to discover how many interests we share. There are some serious chicken stories on mine and I am another passionate gardener. I have a recipe for whole lemon cake which works very like yours from a josceline dimbleby book. I will send it to you if you like. Yes crickhowell is lovely. We had a great time

Eliane said...

Yes please!

Kate said...

I love whole, pureed oranges in a cake and I have a great recipe for one which has a syrup poured over at the end but otherwise is very similar to yours. I think it is on my Gardeners' Gastronomy blog....Nice to read your comment about our newest member, Ting.

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for posting this - I made it for tea tonight and it has all vanished already. Child #1 called it "The best cake ever". I cooked the oranges in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes - reduces the cooking time a bit.