A beautiful mix of tastes.
- 200g (7oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 300g (11oz) caster sugar
- Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 200g (7oz) ground almonds
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 100g (31/2 oz) plain flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- For the Syrup
- Juice of 2 oranges
- 100g (31/2 oz) caster sugar
- For the Icing
- 75g (3oz) butter, softened
- 100g (31/2 oz) dark chocolate, in drops or broken into pieces
- 1 tblsp orange liqueur or orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F), Gas mark 3, then butter the sides of the cake tin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. Place the butter, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl and beat together until soft and creamy.
- Add half the ground almonds and continue to mix, then add the eggs, a little at a time, making sure they’re well mixed in. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and add the rest of the almonds, folding these in until combined.
- Tip the cake batter into the prepared tin, spreading it out and levelling the top with a spatula or palette knife. Bake for 45–50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with just a small amount of moisture sticking to it.
- While the cake is cooking, make the syrup. Place the orange juice and sugar in a saucepan. Stir until mixed and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for just 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- When the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it sit in the tin for just 5 minutes. Loosening around the edges using a small, sharp knife, carefully remove the cake from the tin and transfer to a serving plate. Straight away pour the hot syrup over the cake (reheating the syrup if it has had a chance to cool down) and leave to cool completely while soaking up the syrup.
- To make the icing, place the butter in a heatproof bowl with the chocolate and orange liqueur or orange juice and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave just until melted, stirring occasionally, then pour the icing over the cake. (This is a wet icing so don’t worry if it drips down the sides of the cake.)
- Let the icing set and then decorate with pieces of crystallised orange peel, if you wish.
More by Rachel Allen:
- Steak and watercress bearnaise
- Ivan's chinese crispy mackerel pancakes
- Smocked haddock and cockle soup