Orange cake with marmalade and orange flower cream

There are several very similar recipes for this cake - Nigella has one, Claudia Roden has one and I'm sure there are many more. This one comes from Diana Henry in her lovely book 'Crazy Water Pickled Lemons.'
I love Moroccan food and there are some great recipes in this book.

A good tip I've learnt from a cyber friend is that instead of boiling the orange for an hour as stipulated in the recipe, you can cook it in the microwave and speed up the whole process. You prick the skin of the orange and microwave it on high for about 8 minutes, turning the orange around after a few minutes, just as you would a potato. Saves a lot of time and energy.

1 orange
3 eggs
250g caster sugar
55g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
200g ground almonds
icing sugar for dusting

for the cream:
55g fine-shred orange marmalade
125g  mascarpone cheese
30ml (2 tbsp) Greek yoghurt
icing sugar to taste
5ml (1 tsp) orange flower water

Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas Mark 4
Grease a 20cm (8in) spring-form tin and line with greaseproof paper.
Put the orange in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer for an hour. Cut the orange in half, remove the pips, and purée the rest of the fruit in a food processor. Beat the eggs and sugar together until they’re pale and thick. Fold in the flour, baking powder, almonds and orange purée. Pour into the tin and bake for about an hour. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the cream, melt the marmalade in a small pan. Let it cool slightly, but don’t let it set, then mix it with the mascarpone and yoghurt. Add icing sugar to taste and the orange flower water.

Sift icing sugar over the cake and serve with the marmalade cream.

This is the cake without the marmalade cream.  I love the texture of it - light, moist and full of orange flavour. The marmalade cream is great, but I prefer to just eat the cake just as it is - unadorned and simple.


Hazelnut loaf cake

 Yet another loaf cake to add to my collection! This is basically a pound cake or Sandkuchen with the addition of ground hazelnuts.

250g unsalted butter at room temperature
250g caster sugar
4 large eggs
250g plain flour
2 tspns baking powder
100g ground hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 180°C/ gas 4
Grease a 900g loaf tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer or 5 with a hand-held.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
 Gradually add the sieved flour and baking powder, a third at a time, until each third is well incorporated. Finally add the ground hazelnuts and mix them in well.
 Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for about 60 minutes until it is well risen and firm to the touch. If it starts to brown too much cover the top with foil. When it's cooked, cool on a wire rack.

You can ring the changes by adding two chopped apples instead for an apple cake, 150g chopped dried apricots for an apricot cake, or two grated carrots and cinnamon for a carrot cake ... the possibilities are endless! So a nice basic recipe to have in your keeper collection for any eventuality.


Little cappuccino cakes

I love to drink cappuccino, and these little cakes are my cake version. They're a Victoria sponge mixture really, so are very easy to make using the all-in-one method.

3 tspn instant coffee
2 tspn boiling water
175g soft butter or margarine
175g muscovado sugar
175g sr flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
3 eggs

To decorate
300ml thick creme fraiche [or double cream if you want to be more decadent]
75g pieces of dark chocolate

Preheat oven 180C/gas4
Grease a 12-hole muffin tin.

Dissolve the coffee in the water.
Beat the rest of the ingredients together in a mixer till it's smooth and add the coffee.
Put the mixture into the muffin tin and smooth the tops.
Bake for about 12-14 mins till well risen.
Cool on a wire rack.

Whip the creme fraiche till it has little peaks.
Cut the cakes in half and fill with some of the creme.
Decorate the top with a little more creme and add some chocolate pieces to decorate.

I like these cakes because they're not too sweet. The tartness of the creme fraiche goes well with the coffee flavour. I found a box of chocolate pieces in a very nice local shop, and was a bit sceptical about how it would taste as it wasn't a well-known name, but it's got a great flavour. A nice treat with your afternoon cuppa. I'm not sure if a low-fat version of creme fraiche would work, as I don't know if it can be whipped. Must buy some and try. If you want a sweeter cream, you can add a little icing sugar to it.

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