Last week it was my friend Joanna's birthday. So I made her a cake. When I'm cooking for Joanna, the stakes are high. She's an excellent cook... and an adventurous one. She has a piping bag and a blow torch - for brûlée not welding - and the ability and patience (and need with two small daughters) to make cakes in the shape of barnyard animals and geometrically difficult numerals involving multiple tins and creative assembly. I can't compete with that. So I went the other way, with my limited craft skills and a fail-safe recipe.
Chocolate orange cake
Adapted (not much at all) from Nigella Lawson's Feast
I almost always cook the orange/s the night before I want to make this. That way, the preparation of the cake is nothing more than piling all the ingredients into the food processor and hitting the ON button. If you're catering for someone gluten-intolerant, be sure that the brand of baking powder you use is gluten-free. Many name brands stocked by supermarkets are, but read the label to be sure.
2 small or 1 large thin-skinned orange, approximately 375g total weight
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
200g ground almonds
250g caster (superfine) sugar
Put the whole orange or oranges in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until soft. Drain and, when cool, cut the oranges in half and remove any big pips. Then pulp everything - pith, peel and all - in a food processor.
Once the fruit is cold, or near cold, preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Butter and line a 20cm (9 inch) springform tin.
Add the eggs, baking powder, bicarb soda, almonds, sugar and cocoa to the orange in the food processor. Run the motor til you have a cohesive cake mixture, but still slightly knobbly with flecks of pureed orange.
Pour and scrape into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour - or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool in tin on a wire rack before turning out.