Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern Orange Cake

This recipe is from Stephanie Alexander's “The Cook's Companion”, published by Lantern Penguin Books), Australia, 2004. Using her description:

There does not seem to be a café that does not serve a version of this marvellous cake. It is dense and moist and the cooked peel gives it a tart and intriguing flavour that is very seductive.

I (Stephanie) have amended Claudia Roden's method slightly by using a food processor. The tin selected should be big enough so that the batter is no deeper than 6 cm, otherwise the cake will take much longer to cook.

Serve this cake with a pile of citrus segments and the best thick cream.


Boil oranges, barely covered with water, in a covered saucepan for 2 hours. The oranges float, so you might put something (like a saucer) on top to keep them covered with the water.

Allow to cool, then cut open, remove pips and chop roughly, including the rind. If you use navel oranges, there are no pips to remove.

Preheat oven to 190°C and butter and flour a 24 cm springform tin. Blend oranges and eggs thoroughly in a food processor. Mix ground almonds, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl, then add orange mixture and whisk to combine. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour. If cake is still very wet, cook a little longer. Cool in tin before gently turning out.

Note that the times given are from Stephanie's recipe. I find that it always takes much longer.

Finger CakesFor a shallower cake to be cut into fingers, bake in a 28 cm square tin for about 40 minutes plus.

Variations

I have tried microwaving the oranges for about 8 minutes on high as an alternative to the boiling. Seems OK to me!

I have also been using whole almonds (unpeeled) and blitzing them in a food processor. If you don't overdo it you get little bits of nut left which I think gives a really good texture.

I've finally become a risk taker.

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