Country Living (UK) - - Food & Drink -

“This is a sump­tu­ous and fra­grant bake”

Prepa­ra­tion 30 min­utes

Cook­ing 3 hours 15 min­utes

Serves 8 As the say­ing goes, good things come to those who wait. It is a slow, although sim­ple, process to pre­pare this cake, but the re­sult is a sump­tu­ous and fra­grant bake that is worth ev­ery sec­ond of prepa­ra­tion time. This tastes sub­lime served with a scoop of crème fraîche or choco­late sor­bet.

3 whole or­anges (ide­ally blood or­anges, when avail­able) 375g ground al­monds 375g caster sugar 2 tsp bak­ing pow­der 9 large eggs crème fraîche, to serve (op­tional) FOR THE SYRUP juice of 1 orange juice of ½ lemon 50g gran­u­lated sugar seeds from 4 car­damom pods TO DEC­O­RATE 1 orange (ide­ally blood orange), peeled, pips re­moved and sliced into 5mm-thick discs 1 hand­ful of pis­ta­chio nuts

1 Put the or­anges in a saucepan over a medium heat and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then re­duce the heat, cover with a lid and cook gen­tly for 2½ hours. Re­move the or­anges, then cut them in half and dis­card any pips. Put into a blender or food pro­ces­sor and blend un­til smooth. 2 Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) gas mark 4 and line a 25.5cm round cake tin with bak­ing parch­ment. Weigh out 550g of the orange purée and put it in a large mix­ing bowl. Mix the orange purée with the al­monds, sugar and bak­ing pow­der us­ing an electric beater. 3 While still mix­ing, add the eggs, one at a time, un­til you have a smooth bat­ter. Pour into the pre­pared cake tin and bake for 45 min­utes. 4 Mean­while, to make the syrup, put the orange and lemon juice in a saucepan and add the sugar and the car­damom seeds. Cook over a medium heat to dis­solve the sugar, then in­crease the heat to high. Cook for 5 min­utes to re­duce the liq­uid. 5 When baked, leave the cake in the tin and put on a wire rack, then ar­range the orange slices over the top. Pour over the syrup and leave to cool. 6 Put the pis­ta­chio nuts between two sheets of bak­ing parch­ment and use a rolling pin to crush them roughly. When the cake is cool, turn it out of the tin and sprin­kle with the crushed pis­ta­chios. Serve with a dol­lop of crème fraîche, if you like.

Ex­tracted from The Hid­den Hut by Si­mon Stal­lard (Harper Collins, £20).

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