Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A hint of something exotic as the nights draw in - Tunisian Orange Cake

...and no, I don't know why it's Tunisian. Maybe its the evocative smell of cinnamon and cloves in the kitchen as the syrup for this lovely cake boils hints at exotic roots. What I do know is that this cake is remarkably good, and stays in good condition for a few days.

I was intrigued by the idea of making a cake with breadcrumbs, and it produced a cake with an interesting texture, reminiscent of a bread and butter pudding when served warm. It was a sensation of nutty, sticky squidginess which you should try, at least once. The other irresistable quality about this cake is that I found the recipe in 'Where shall we go for dinner?' by Tamasin Day Lewis. Every cake from her recipe books has been a triumph, so the pedigree for this cake is, in my opinion, pretty damn good.

Serving suggestions: warm with vanilla ice cream, room temperature with some creme fraiche laced with cointreau or triple sec, and later on in the week, submerged in custard. All are heavenly!

For the cake:

120g slightly stale white breadcrumbs
400g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
3 tsp baking powder
400ml sunflower oil
8 eggs
finely grated zest of 2 oranges
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemonFor the citrus syrup:

juice of 2 oranges
juice of 1 lemon
150g caster sugar
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick, or a tsp of ground cinnamon
1 star anise (optional)
Line the base of a 20cm round and 5cm deep tin with greaseproof paper, then grease and flour the tin.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the sugar, almonds and baking powder. Whisk the oil with the eggs, then pour into the dry ingredients and then mix well. Add the orange and lemon zest. Pour the mixture into the tin, place in a cold oven and turn on the heat to 180C.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the cake is golden brown (about 45 minutes). Check with a skewer by inserting it into the middle, if it comes out clean it’s done. Cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate.

Meanwhile, make the citrus syrup. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring gently to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves from the syrup.

While the cake is still warm, pierce it several times with a skewer, then spoon the hot syrup over the cake allowing it to run into the holes. Leave to cool. Spoon any excess syrup over the cake every now and then until it is all soaked up.

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