It's great to see Karyn back in the kitchen after her break, and great to be back guesting here too. I recently discovered that not only do I have an intolerance to cow's milk proteins, but I'm also intolerant to wheat. Now as strange as it might seem, rather than filling me with dread, my first thought was 'oh good, I can play with all my favourite recipes again!' I now have some yummy savoury and sweet biscuits recipes and a tasty brownie recipe in the bag, but wanted something a bit more 'special occasion', and was really just waiting for the excuse to try something. Thursday was National Charity Day at my company, where every office, all over the UK, spends much of the day doing stuff to raise money for local charities...and one of the events at my office was a cake competition. So here's my entry- didn’t win, but sold out fast when it was sliced and sold to raise even more money. Of course I had to make 2 - one for work and one for the family!
For the cake
1 large orange (or as I had to hand, 3 clementines!)
200g castor sugar
Either 200g ground almonds Or 100g ground almonds and 100g polenta (this gives a nice nutty texture)
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder (if you're not making this for someone with a gluten problem, then use plain old baking powder!)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
25g cocoa powder
For the syrup and filling
1 large orange
50g castor sugar
100g good dark chocolate
Put one of the oranges (or all of the clementines) into a pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 2 hours (Or until the fruit peel is nice and soft).Grease the bottom and side of 2 cake sandwich tins, and line the bases with greased baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
When the orange (or clementines) is ready, roughly chop into big pieces and remove any seeds. Then bung the whole lot, peel and all, into a food processor and whiz until it’s pulped. Divide the pulp roughly into 3, and set 2 lots to one side.
Add half of the eggs, ground almonds, polenta (if you’re using it) baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and sugar to the pulp left in the processor and whizz until mixed. Pour the runnier than usual batter mixture into one of the cake tins.
Put 1 of the other portions of pulp into the processor (don't bother to clean it first!) and add the other halves of all the ingredients and the cocoa powder, and whizz till mixed. Pour that into the other cake tin.
Bake both cakes for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check after 30 minutes, and if it's getting a bit too brown, put some tinfoil on the top. I used a fan oven and mine were done after 45 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tins.
Meanwhile you need to make thin little strips of zest from the other orange. You can either use a julienne maker, a zester that allows you to remove strips of zest, or a vegetable peeler, and then cut those thicker slices into thin strips. Bung them, the juice of the orange and the sugar into a pan. Boil up together to make a thin syrup.
Use a cocktail stick to make lots of holes in the top of the chocolate cake.
Melt the chocolate (either in a bowl over a pan of water, or in the microwave) and beat the remaining orange pulp into the melted chocolate. It does get a slightly lumpy texture, but who cares when it tastes so good.
Put the orange cake onto a plate, spread a thick layer of the chocolate/orange mix onto it and put the chocolate cake on top. Spoon about half the syrup carefully over the top, giving each spoonful time to sink into all the little holes! Then put the pan back on the heat and boil until the syrup is sticky. Spoon the thick syrup carefully over the top making sure the thin strips of zest sort of gather in the centre - or at least don't fall off the sides!
So decadent you don't really need to add anything - but I bet it's heaven warmed very slightly with clotted cream!