As much as the scone invokes images of the UK to me, this is a food postcard of where I live now. This cake is fabulous, and to me, pretty much everything about it screams sunny spanish days, from the oranges to the almonds, the fact it uses olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oil, it is a little(or big) slice of sunshine on a plate! So it may be cold outside, but bring a little warmth to your insides!
Although eating cake is never going to be the best thing for the waistline, the fact this is made with mono-unsaturated fats is no bad thing.
This comes from a Sainsburys recipe card, I never got round to making it until I moved here, but I should have, it’s simple to make, and is packed full of taste. This also keeps really well, if anything it improves from being left a couple of days in a container in the fridge, so it’s ideal as a make ahead cake. The card says it makes ten slices, they would be pretty huge slices, so I’d say you can get twelve good sized slices.
The cake comes together in two stages, the cake slowly baked, and an orange syrup poured over the finished cake.
I really like cakes that don’t use too much flour, or any at all for that matter, this one has a little, but leans to ground almonds (sorry anybody that can’t do nuts) and semolina for the majority. The semolina grains puff up wonderfully as this cooks, and soak up all the lovely orangey syrup once baked. This totally banished the grim image I had of the semolina from school days!
22cm / 8.5 inch loose bottomed round cake tin
Electric whisk (prepare for some serious muscles if whisking by hand!)
Large mixing bowl
Small saucepan for the syrup
If your cake tin isn’t exactly the right dimensions use it and don’t worry, mine is only 21 cm and it works just as well! Grease well and line the bottom.
Preheat your oven to 180 deg C, 350 deg F, gas mark 4.
For the syrup
250g / 8oz caster sugar
150ml / 5 fl oz water
300ml / 10fl oz orange juice
For the cake
4 medium eggs
250g / 8oz caster sugar
250ml / 9fl oz mild olive oil
100g / 3 1/2oz plain flour
2 x 5ml / teaspoons baking powder
300g / 10oz semolina
200g / 7oz ground almonds
150g / 5oz ready to eat / dried apricots, finely chopped
250ml / 9fl oz freshly squeezed orange juice(2-3 oranges) The first time I made this I used a carton of juice and it was still very good.
Firstly, make the syrup by putting the ingredients into a small saucepan and simmering for ten to fifteen minutes, stirring from time to time. As it cools the consistency will become syrupy.
For the cake, into a large mixing bowl put the eggs and sugar and beat well until thick, fluffy and creamy.
Tips to give your cake less of a crust. You can cover the top with foil, and also wrap the outside of the cake tin in baking paper, insulating the cake. I follow these guides, and also turn my oven down a little from the recommended heat, as it seems to run hotter than it says!
Take your cake out of the tin and put it onto a plate with a raised lip. With your skewer make lots of small holes in the cake, then gradually add the syrup until it has absorbed it all.
The first time I made this cake I don’t think I made enough holes as the syrup ended up pooling round the cake, not in it so much (hence needing a plate with a raised edge!), so be liberal in your hole making!
The recipe card I got this from says once cool serve with with quartered fresh figs, but the greatest thing I learned is that if you can leave this, untouched, until the next day before taking your first slice, you’ve let the syrup fully absorb into the cake and it is greatly enhanced.
Hopefully the friends that requested something sweet that wasn’t banana based will like this one!