Here’s a cake as gorgeous as it is impressive. It’s not a quick bake, but the investment in time returns a super-tasty dividend.
Makes: 10 – 12 slices
Time: 70 minutes to make the cake + cooling; 20 minutes to assemble and cover. Around 60 – 90 minutes the day before, making the puree and candied orange peel
Level: Reasonably easy
Equipment: A 23cm (9”) loose bottomed round cake tin
For the candied orange peel (This is optional – you may choose to buy some or decorate in another way.)
- Orange peel
- Approx. 70g caster sugar
For the cake
- A medium orange, halved & pips removed
- 125g self-raising flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1½ tsp ground coriander
- 40g cocoa powder
- 125g ground almonds
- 150g dark chocolate, chopped
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g light brown sugar
- 5 eggs, separated
For the filling
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g icing sugar
- About 30ml warm orange juice
For the ganache
- 50 – 60 ml double cream
- 150 – 180g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 50g full fat cream cheese (optional extra)
Prior to making the cake you may wish to make the candied orange peel and set it aside for use later. See below for instructions. Likewise, you may also prefer to make the orange puree the day before the cake.
1. Place the halved orange in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour. Drain and cool. When it’s cool, chop the orange and put the pieces, peel included, into a food processor to make a puree.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Butter and line the base of the tin. Dust lightly with flour or cocoa powder. Knock out any excess.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and cocoa powder into a bowl. Stir in the ground almonds.
4. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a bain marie, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
5. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time then beat in the orange puree. Fold in the flour. Stir in the melted chocolate.
6. In a very clean metal or glass bowl, whisk the egg whites until they’re stiff, then fold gently into the cake mix in two or three batches.
7. Spoon the mix into the tin, level the surface then bake for 40 – 45 minutes until firm and pulling away from the sides of the tin. (Check at 35 minutes) Cool in the tin for five minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to fully cool.
8. To make the buttercream, whisk the softened butter until light and fluffy, then sift in the icing sugar. Stir gently to mix, add in the orange juice, then beat more vigorously.
9. Cut the cooled cake horizontally into two layers then assemble together using the buttercream between the two layers. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
10. To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a bowl and heat the cream in a small saucepan, but don’t let it boil. Pour the cream on the chocolate, wait a few minutes, then stir to mix. Here’s where you can add in the cream cheese if you wish to. Let the ganache cool to the point where it’s still sufficiently runny to “dribble” slowly down the cake sides – if that’s what you want. Add your chosen decorations to finish off the cake.
Here’s how to make the candied orange peel. (If you think it’s too much of a faff, then just buy some.):
i) Take the peel off the orange and cut into small strips. Use a sharp knife to pare off as much “white stuff” as possible.
ii) Put the strips in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and repeat, but this time leave simmering for 30 minutes.
iii) Drain again, but keep the water. Put the water back in the pan and weigh it. Add in the same weight of sugar and stir to dissolve it. Once again, bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes.
iv) Drain off any remaining liquid and place the pieces of peel on a wire rack separately to cool.
v) Place the rack and peel in the oven on a very low heat and leave for around 30 minutes.