Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Saturday, 13 February 2016

LET ME EAT CAKE, I SAY (Just like Marie Antoinette) Spelt and Olive Oil Cake with Blood Orange

I don’t really know whether Marie Antoinette was into ‘healthy eating’ or not really. If she was anything like me she needed to be, as when I am in France I tend to eat my own weight in croissants, camembert and crusty ‘baguette’ and then wash it down with Madiran, and whilst red wine is meant to be REALLY good for you, I am not sure the rest of it is. Anyway, the damage is done for me and before our next jolly to La Belle France in July (Annecy and the French Alps, plus a foray into Northern Italy – very excited) I want to be healthier. But I want cake.
Here is the compromise.  I bought some spelt flour yonks ago because I bought a recipe book (yes really) which raved on about it. I made a recipe from the book for a lemon tart and it was horrible and I thought, ‘Spelt? Nah…’ and put it back in the cupboard. Fast forward to the purchase of another cookery book (yes really…) called ‘Grains as Mains’ and after a couple of successful meals made, no doubt coming to a blog near you soon) I happened upon a recipe for olive oil and spelt cake, with blood orange. I lurve blood orange. I lurve cake. This doesn’t sound as unhealthy as ‘normal’ cake. I opened the cupboard and out came the much maligned spelt flour. 
The alterations I made for this recipe were down to the fact that I like a cake that looks semi appealing, and I had an idea that this might not. Plus I did not want to waste any of my blood oranges so I upped the zest to the zest of two oranges as it took two oranges to produce the juice required to make the cake. I also decided to slice my remaining orange up, after removing the peel and a pith with a sharp knife, and put it on the cake. Then I thought that the slices might dry out and look a bit shrivelled so I strew a tablespoon or so of Demerara sugar over the cake in the hope that it would caramelise over the orange slices and make them look like huge jewels.
As the cake came out of the oven, I brushed over a luscious syrup made of orange juice and icing sugar to give it that ‘French Patisserie’ look.  Marie Antoinette would definitely be up for this cake. I am sure of it.
Spelt and Olive Oil Cake adapted from ‘Grains and Mains’ by Laura Agar Wilson
Serves 12, apparently…
120ml extra virgin olive oil plus extra for greasing the tin
225g spelt flour
100g ground almonds
Grated zest of one orange (I used two)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
150g light brown sugar
To decorate the top
A blood orange, peeled with the pith removed
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
To glaze:
1 tsp blood orange juice
35g icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 180c – grease and line a 23cm round cake tin.

Mix the dry ingredients (not the sugar) and the orange zest together until well combined.

In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients, plus the sugar, together.

Add the wet and dry ingredients together and mix until only just combined. Do not overmix.
Place the cake mixture into the prepared pan.

To prepare the decoration, slice the bottom and the top of the orange so that it sits flat. Using a sharp knife, cut the peel and pith away from around the orange, starting at the top of the orange down to the bottom. When you have removed the peel and the pith, slice the orange into thin slices and place them onto the top of the cake. Strew the Demerara over the cake and then place it into the oven.
Whilst the cake is baking, make the glaze. Mix the orange juice and the icing sugar with two teaspoons of water until everything is combined.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until a skewer/toothpick in the centre comes out clean. Brush the glaze over the cake.
This is best served warm.

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