The women in my family have an interesting relationship with marmalade. My grandmother loved it, I love it, my mother can't stand the stuff. Her condiment of choice is apricot jam which, as it happens, I don't mind either. But my first love is marmalade and when it's cold and rainy out or I'm having a bad day and having a flashback to being 10 and ardently not wanting to go to ballet class (this can sometimes happen when it rains a lot for some reason), it's marmalade on toast (with occasional cheese involvement) that I turn to. The ultimate comfort food.
That's why when I heard about a cake incorporating whole oranges, I almost gasped in excitement. It was marmalade in cake form. I was already tasting the saturated citrus flavours in anticipation. And so, when our friend came over on Friday night, I had the perfect excuse to make it.
This cake makes a great dessert, with its moist and dense texture, resembling that of a baked cheesecake, but I think it truly shines as a mid-morning tea accompaniment - a small slice to go with a strong cup of Earl Grey and perhaps an Austen or a Brontë.
Whole Orange Cake with Yoghurt ToppingAdapted from The British Larder
For the cake
2 whole fresh oranges
100ml of the cooking water from the oranges
6 whole free range eggs
250g unrefined caster sugar
100g plain flour
200g ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
For the yoghurt topping
2 Tbs natural yoghurt
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
zest of one orange
Wash the oranges; place them in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the oranges to the boil and simmer for approximately 1 ½ hours, until completely soft. Let the oranges cool completely in the cooking liquid.
Preheat the oven to 150°C, grease and line a 9-inch round springform pan with baking paper. Place the boiled oranges (skin and all) in a food processor with 100ml of the cooking liquid and puree till a very smooth. Transfer the orange puree to a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and mix well. Fold the ground almonds into the batter. Sieve the flour and baking powder over the batter and fold the flour in with a metal spoon. The cake batter will be very runny.
Spoon the cake mixture in to the prepared tin, place on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, or until a metal skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. For the topping, combine the yoghurt with the confectioners sugar and spoon over a generous slice of cake and garnish with orange zest.
And another thing, this cake improves with time. Day 2 or 3 is a real treat.