ORANGE CARDAMOM CAKE
“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).