One of the first times I had this cake was in the restaurant Polpo in Beak Street, London. I was then given their cookbook as a Christmas present a few years ago and it’s one of the easiest cakes to make at home, after you have boiled the oranges the rest of it is done in a blender, so there’s no faffing about with creaming in or sifting. It’s gluten and dairy free, not that you’d notice, plus it’s so delicious I was proposed to by a friend’s husband when he ate a slice. It’s delicious with a dollop of mascarpone and a coffee, as it says in the book. My friends now cook this a lot.
100g golden brown sugar
400g caster sugar
6 medium eggs or 5 large
250g ground almonds
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
Zest and juice of an orange
A little bit of icing sugar for dusting
Boil the two oranges (whole) gently in plenty of water for two hours. Remove the oranges and set aside to cool, keeping the water they were cooked in.
Pre heat the oven to 180°C or 350°F. Spray a 26 cm cake tin with cake release spray, or lightly brush with oil.
Put the brown sugar and half the caster sugar in a food processor and break in the eggs. Whizz until light and fluffy.
When the oranges have cooled, roughly chop them and remove any pips. Add the entire orange to the processor and blend till smooth. Add the almonds and baking powder and blend until thoroughly mixed.
Pour the mixture in to the cake tin and bake for 60 to 90 minutes (all ovens vary so check it from 50 minutes on so it doesn’t get overcooked) and it’s done when a skewer comes out dry from the centre.
Meanwhile make the syrup by putting the orange juice and zest into the water the oranges were cooked in, along with the rest of the caster sugar. Boil until syrupy and pour straight over the cake while the cake is still hot in it’s tin, then dust the cake with the icing sugar. Take out of the tin when it’s cooled.
(I recently over boiled the syrup and it became really thick and went a bit toffee like when it cooled on the cake… a delicious mistake)