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Blood Orange and Almond Cake

There's no better way to spend a winter's afternoon than in the cosy warmth of your kitchen. Beautiful blood oranges make bring a happy burst of colour in at this time of year. This moist, dense cake is decorated with slices of orange which caramelise slightly as the cake bakes, and some sweet honey poached orange segments on the side. I always love desserts that have a savoury element, so the hint of basil really works for me.

Serves 12


For the cake

  • 4 blood oranges

  • 200g butter

  • 200g caster sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 100g ground almonds

  • 150g self raising flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

To serve (12):

  • 3 blood oranges

  • 3 tbsp honey

  • 3 sprig basil

  • creme fraiche

To prepare:

  1. To begin, take one orange and put it in a small pan. Cover it with water. Boil it until it is completely tender - about 20 minutes.

  2. Once it’s cooked, drain and leave it to cool slightly.

  3. Blend the whole fruit in a food processor until you have a smooth pulp. Allow it to cool completely.

  4. Preheat the oven to 160c fan/ 180c/ gas 6. Grease and line the cake tin.

  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the remaining 3 oranges into very thin slices. Arrange them in concentric circles around the tin, overlapping the fruit by about half each time.

  6. Now make the batter. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

  7. Add 1 egg and 1 tbsp flour and beat thoroughly. Repeat twice more until you have a incorporated all three eggs.

  8. Fold in the remaining flour, ground almonds, baking powder. You will have quite a thick batter.

  9. Add the pureed orange and fold through the batter.

  10. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until it is golden, slightly pulling away from the edges and a skewer comes out clear when inserted.

  11. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes before turning out and leaving it to cool on a wire rack.

To serve:

  1. Top and tail the oranges (allow 1 orange between 4) then stand it on the flat surface on the board. Slice from top to bottom to remove the skin and the pith. Cut out segments of orange.

  2. Place 1 heaped tbsp honey per orange in a pan along with 2 1/2 tbsp water. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally and simmer until reduced to a syrup. Add the orange segments and cook them gently in the honey syrup.

  3. To serve the cake, cut a generous wedge and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche. Spoon over the honey orange segments, along with a spoonful of the orange flavoured honey syrup. Garnish with a few small basil leaves and serve.

The leftover cake will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.


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