created: 2004-11-08 02:10:02
Nigella's folly, it turns out, is also my folly, because I love this cake, which is basically a chocolate version of the clementine cake recipe also posted on this site. The "folly" is that in the original version of this recipe, published in Lawson's book "Feast," the recipe instructions tell you to "cream the butter and sugar." The problem? There is no butter in the list of ingredients. As described in an article in the Times by Robin Young (thanks for forwarding, Sarah-Jane!) chefs confounded by the recipe tried making the cake twice: once without butter, once adding their best guess as to an appropriate amount of butter; it was the butterless cake that proved triumphant. Now, you might think that I would demur from posting this recipe given Claire's distinctly unfavourable review of its sister cake. But I made it last night, and I stand by it. As Nigella says, it's "perfect to toy with over a cup of coffee at the end of an evening." I couldn't put it better myself, except to say, or a morning, or an afternoon too, for that matter. Note: it occurred to me that this would be a good dessert option for the dairy and / or wheat intolerant.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe for Chocolate Orange Cake, published in her most recent book, "Feast: Food That Celebrates Life." 2 small or 1 large thin-skinned orange, approx. 375g total weight (I used Valencia) 6 eggs 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) 200g ground almonds 250g caster sugar 50g good quality unsweetened cocoa orange peel for decoration Place oranges in pan of cold water and simmer for 2 hours or unti soft. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, cut oranges in half and remove any pips. Scrape out the flesh and juice into a bowl. Then (and I diverge from Lawson here), if you can be bothered, scrape out as much pith as you can from the orange shells. Place the scraped orange shells in with the orange flesh. Either pulp using a blender / food processor or chop the fruit finely. Allow the fruit to cool completely. Preheat the oven to 350 fahrenheit or 180 celsius. Butter and line a springform tin if you have one. (We don't, so I just used a regular cake tin and was able to remove the cake sucessfully. However, make sure the tin you use is fairly deep (2 1/2 inches? 3 inches?) because the cake batter spilled out over the top of my tin during baking, which was nearly disastrous.) You can put the batter together either in a food processor or by hand--it's easy enough to do by hand: simply stir together the eggs, baking powder, baking soda, almonds, sugar, cocoa, and pulped fruit until well blended. Scrape into the cake tin and bake for an hour, by which time a cake tester should come out fairly clean. Check the cake after 45 minutes; depending on your oven, you may need to cover it with foil to prevent burning on top. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, on a cooling rack. When cold, remove from the tin. It looks beautiful decorated with long fine strips of orange zest piled on top.