Monday, 12 March 2012

Spanish almond and orange cake

 *UPDATE APRIL 2016!! I promise I am working on the vegan version of this cake- it's nearly ready, will update soon!

We have enjoyed such a beautiful weekend with glorious weather, glorious food and glorious company! Having friends over gave me the perfect excuse to remake a cake that I had made for Wills birthday at the start of this month- Spanish almond and orange cake.

I first discovered this amazing cake while trying to decide what to make for Will's birthday.  Spanish polenta cake came to mind right away, but all the recipes I could find had a lot of butter and sugar, and without a ton of time to experiment with the cake, I wanted a recipe that didn't need too much adapting. In the end I did a google search and found an AMAZING Spanish blood orange and almond cake, which was already so brilliant, I could pretty much make the cake from recipe with only a couple of tweaks!

The original recipe can be found  here on this rather inspirational blog called 'a little bit of Spain in Iowa'- I will be checking in on this blog frequently, not only does it have great recipes, but the blog posts are very cool to read, I really enjoyed browsing them.

As I mentioned before, the changes I made were pretty minor. I left out the almond extract, swapped baking powder for bicarb and cream of tartar (I like to make my rising agents but a good quality baking powder is fine), used maple syrup instead of honey on Wills cake, (cause we were out of honey- though I used honey in this weekends version), and swapped half the wholemeal flour for polenta to give an extra taste of the Mediterranean!

 Anyways, it turned out beautifully, it is easily the tastiest cake I have ever eaten (and I'm not exaggerating!) The texture is so moist and melts in your mouth, it is almost 'moussey' in fact. During the cooking process the scent is so very fragrant that we could smell it from the garden,  it made our whole house smell delicious! If you have an occasion to celebrate, I really recommend trying this out, you won't be disappointed.

2 blood oranges (you can use regular if you can't find them)
3 eggs
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup or honey
2 cups ground almonds
2 tbsp whole spelt flour (or fine wholemeal flour)
2 tbsp fine polenta/maize flour
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda*
1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar*
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 8 drops of cold pressed vanilla extract (we like medicineflower)

*or 2 tsp baking powder

First of all, wash the oranges and prick them with a knife. Pop them in a pan and cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer on  the hob for around an hour until the skins feel soft.
Take the oranges out and leave to cool for 10 mins. Cut them in half, remove and pips and blend them in the food processor until you have a smooth orange puree. Set this aside.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, honey or maple syrup and vanilla until well combined.
Add the almonds, bicarb and cream of tartar, spelt and polenta and combine carefully. 
Next, fold in the orange puree.
Pour this into a 20cm greased cake tin and bake in the oven for around 40mins, until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 mins, before turning out onto the rack to finish cooling.

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