Each time there is any sort of a celebration in our house, be it a festive holiday or a birthday, I habitually pull out my Nigella books. It's really a pleasure to have an excuse to browse through them again and "Feast" is invariably the winner when it comes to celebrations. I do love that book and quite honestly most of Nigellas recipes in general. I won't say it's a problem, but she's obviously not as driven to take the healthy option as me, so her recipes spell indulgence. All the more fun.
Anyway, my husband just caught up with me; he was 40 a couple of days ago. So I left out "Feast" for him to peruse and choose his cake. My strong pointers were the chocolate guinness cake or the chocolate orange (again that theme!). It's lucky he's a fan of chocolate too, or maybe we would not be a match!
Anyway, he chose the chocolate orange, which pleased me, not only because I adore the combination, but the cake has a very unusual composition as you'll see. I suppose it could be argued there's a nod to the healthy here; the cake has no butter or regular flour, but's it still a cake and tastes very decadent.
This cake suits my lifestyle very well; as I've mentioned before, I'm a planner, so the fact that the orange needs cooked for 2 hours and cooled, suited me fine. I did it the day before and kept it in the fridge. One less step on the big day. I also made my own ground almonds, as I was so outraged at the cost of pre-ground almonds in my supermarket. I just whizzed them up in the food processor with a little sugar which apparantly helps absorb the oil and they are then less likely to turn into almond butter.
As you'll see from the photos, the girls loved it too; my 4 year old actually requested it for her birthday too (although it's likely that request will be replaced many times in the next 6 months!).
Chocolate Orange Cake
adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson, Feast
|Chocolate Orange Cake (with 2 year old hovering dangerously close)|
2 small or 1 large, thin skinned orange
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups/ 200g ground almonds
1 1/4 cups/ 250g superfine or caster sugar
1/2 cup/ 50g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- Place the orange(s) in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 2 hours or until they are soft.
- Drain the the orange and cool it. When the orange is cool, preheat the oven to 350°F
- Butter an 8" springform pan, then line it with parchment paper.
- Cut the orange in half to remove the seeds, and pulse the whole orange in the food processor.
- To the orange, add the eggs, baking powder, baking soda, ground almonds, sugar and cocoa. Pulse until it is mixed thoroughly.
- Pour the batter into the pan and place in the center of the oven for approximately 1 hour or until the tester comes out clean.
- I loosely covered mine in foil for the last 20 minutes as it seemed to be cooking too quickly. (Nigella's tip)
- Let the cake cool in the pan and when cold remove and decorate.
Now, here's the surprising thing, Nigella recommends just a few orange peels on top, but my children (and I quite frankly) objected. Just not birthday-ish enough. So I made a quick cream cheese frosting (low fat cream cheese and confectioner sugar) then added some zested orange. Smeared it all over and all good except we couldn't get a candle to stay upright, hence the candle in the orange.