This easy recipe came in a free newspaper from the supermarket a couple of years ago.
I liked the sound of it, so I decided to give it a go. It will come as no surprise to regular readers that as usual, I proved incapable of making a recipe as it’s written, but changed it to suit my family and tastes.
I’m going to give you my changes, (and put the original recipe in brackets, like this!)
Truthfully, I like honey as much as the next person, but the recipe looked a little top-heavy in it to me, so I’ve used it in the sticky orange sauce, but replaced it with golden caster sugar for the cake part.
There was also the small matter of the ground almonds – as parents of a nut-allergic child (who is now all grown up, and left home) we still can’t bring ourselves to have nuts in the house. That will sound crazy to most of you, but anyone who has a family member with a life-threatening allergy – or even an intolerance- will probably get it.
And, to top it off, as it was the week leading into the 12th July, which is a public holiday up here, the thought of an ‘orange’ cake tickled my rather infantile sense of humour, so I was grinning to myself as I made it
- A frying pan
- 8 inch/20cm spring-release cake tin, greased and lined
- Electric mixer
- a small pot to melt the butter
Make the orange topping first, because you have to let it cool completely before making the cake.
STICKY ORANGE TOPPING:
- 150g runny honey
- 4 star anise
- 1 inch length of fresh ginger, grated
- 5 tablespoons (about 75ml) cold water
- 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scrapped out, or a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
- 1 large orange – skin on, thinly sliced, pips removed. I got 8 slices from mine (see pictures)
FOR THE CAKE:
- 4 large eggs
- 200g golden caster sugar (original recipe: 200g runny honey)
- 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 150g melted butter
- 300g self-raising flour (original recipe: 150g SR Flour, plus 150g ground almonds)
For the topping:
- Put all the ingredients for the Orange topping, except the orange slices, into the frying pan, and heat until the honey melts into the water.
- Then add the orange slices and let them simmer for 10-15 minutes ( I just put a timer on this, and turned them over once or twice during the 15 minutes)
- When the orange rind is tender (I tested it with the tip of a sharp knife), turn the heat off and allow it to get completely cold. See NOTES at the bottom of the recipe.
- While that’s happening, grease and line the tin.
To make the cake:
- Heat the oven to 160 degrees.
- Place the orange slices in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared tin. Keep any left-over syrup for serving (see further down).
- Put the eggs, sugar (honey), vanilla and cinnamon into the mixer bowl and beat for about 10 minutes until they are pale and tripled in size.
- Sieve in the flour in batches and fold in gently, trying to keep as much air in the mixture as possible (then fold in the ground almonds if you’re using them)
- Fold in the melted butter.
- Pour the completed cake batter over the orange slices, and bake for 50 minutes, until well risen, and it springs back when you press it with a finger tip.
- While the cake is cooking, add two tablespoonfuls of boiling water to the remaining sauce in the frying pan if it looks like it’s dried out a bit.
- Heat the sauce gently until it becomes fairly liquid again. Strain it through a fine sieve into a heat-proof jug to await the cake being turned out. It should be the consistency of the original runny honey.
- Remove the cake from the oven, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then release and remove the spring-form tin, and turn the cake out, upside down, onto your chosen serving platter, so that the orange slices are upper-most.
- Drizzle over the remaining sauce, and serve in slices, warm or cold, with some Greek yoghurt or softly whipped cream
- I thought I’d cooked the orange slices enough – they certainly got their 10-15 minutes – but they were a little difficult to cut -not badly, but just a little – so perhaps a little longer in the pan? Depending on the type of oranges, and the thickness of the skin, I suppose. And using a serrated knife to cut the cake would probably help too.
- The star anise gives a delicious flavour to the syrup, and the vanilla paste leaves the little seeds behind, which look so authentic, so it’s well worth doing.