There's an abundance of navel oranges at the moment in this part of the Southern hemisphere. Spill over from the cold months, the Australian navel orange is sweet juicy, seedless and rich in orange colour. Which makes them the best when making sweets and cakes. They are usually in season from June to October, but they are available year round not discounting the availability of imports.
An office colleague shared this recipe she makes regularly at home for orange almond cake. She has a fool-proof method of boiling the oranges, cooling them, popping them in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pour into baking pans. Basically 3 steps: boil, process, bake. And then of course, eat.
As it seems, orange almond cakes are a classic Passover dessert drawn from Sephardic traditions in Morocco and the Middle East. The original recipe was first featured in 1968 in Claudia Roden's A Book of Middle Eastern Food, which was featured in Lorraine's blog Not Quite Nigella. Stephanie Alexander also has a version in her book The Cook's Companion and recently featured with a make over by Peter G in his blog Souvlaki for the Soul.
As there is an abundance at the moment of this sweet round oranges, it was time to try my office colleague's recipe with inspiration from all the amazing foodies mentioned. And for a birthday morning tea at work, this was the star. Orange almond cake with apricot jam glaze and blood orange slices.
We have made this many times after the first attempt, and every single time, it just comes out perfect. For the election fundraising at the girls' school, I added some touch of chantilly cream (whipped cream with a little bit of icing sugar) and decorated with Lindt Orange Intense.
To make this orange almond cake
2 whole navel oranges
250 grams almond meal
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 whole eggs
Wash the oranges.
In a medium sized pot, pour about 3-4 cups water (don't overfill with water. Half-way through is fine). Place orange in pot and boil with cover until soft - around 45 minutes to an hour.
Drain the water and set the oranges aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 180*C.
Spray a 23cm cake pan with canola oil. Pour about a tablespoon of flour into the pan and tap away the excess.
Once oranges are cooled, slice them into wedges and take out any seeds or pits.
Place in a food processor and process until smooth.
Add the eggs and continue to process until combined.
In a large mixing bowl, combine almond meal, caster sugar and baking powder using a spatula. Mix until everything is incorporated together.
Add the egg and orange mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk together to combine.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
Cool on a wire rack before serving.
Tips and dress ups
* Make sure to check the pot every now and then as the water can dry up and you'll end up with burnt orange.
* You can cook the oranges a day ahead or the night before you plan to make the cake. This is how I did it when I baked the cakes.
* The cake is well and truly divine by itself, or you can dust some icing sugar for some added colour.
* For the photo above with the blood orange and apricot glaze, simply heat 2-3 tablespoons of apricot jam with the same amount of water. Once it boils, turn off heat and add the blood orange slices. Let this completely cool. Then drizzle the glaze over the cake and decorate with the blood orange slices.
* For the frosted cake, simply whip 2 cups of thickened cream with 1/4 cup icing sugar. Pipe onto the cakes and decorate with anything you fancy.