In early September I look forward to Autumn, the rusty leaves, the sharp sunshine and the amazing sunsets. By early November I am grumpy. The nights draw in, it rains too much and I find myself eating a bit too much chocolate. This is also the time when I start brightening up my cooking and baking – adding more chilli to curries, extra garlic to sauces and summery flavours to my baking.
This cake reminds me of summer and of our holiday in Marrakech. The orange is cheery and bright, and the almonds are fragrant and the addition of ground almonds gives a comforting soft crumb. I love serving it with maple syrup, it’s gentle spiciness adds warmth, and it is too cold for ice cream!
I really like to use orange extract in cake, it has a strong flavour that will carry and if you buy good quality Nielsen Massey extract it doesn’t taste fake. It also makes this cake an ideal store cupboard recipe, especially good if it is November and you can’t be bothered to change out of your fleece pyjamas to go to the shops. If you have oranges, then some zest grated into to the batter won’t hurt.
The ground almonds lend the crumb a softness, and adding the same amount of plain flour stabilises the recipe. So you won’t be wibbling by your oven door, hoping it won’t collapse, as is often the case with nut flour.
P.S I bought a new lens that I am only 50% able to use, can you tell?
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g caster sugar
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 2 tsp orange extract
- 150g ground almonds
- 150g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50g flaked almonds (optional)
- maple syrup to serve
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 160 degrees electric
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then mix in the eggs one by one. Stir in the orange extract.
- Fold in the almonds, flour, baking powder until just combined
- Pour into a lined cake tin and sprinkle over the flaked almonds
- Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted
- Drizzle over a little honey when it comes out of the oven (be careful not to go towards the edge as the cake may stick to the tin)
- Leave to cool, turn out and serve.