Thursday 20 July 2017

St. Clement's cake

One of the nice things about doing this blog has been more awareness of the seasons, tailoring my baking to make use of what's available right now where I am rather than over the other side of the world (and at big mark-ups in grocery stores here). Winter is not as showy as summer, with its bounty of mangoes and stone fruit, but there's a lot you can do in these colder months with a surfeit of citrus. This cake uses both oranges and lemons, and is satisfyingly substantial (all that almond meal) and suitably celebratory (sherbety lemon icing)... which was appropriate as it was a birthday cake for my oldest friend in all the world, who, last weekend in Canberra, made me lasagne and my mum's apple crumble. Both of which are even better in winter, as is this cake, which conjures up warmth in its colour. And comforts when it's cold outside.

St. Clement's cake
Adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver's Nan
If you don't have access to golden caster sugar, you could substitute raw sugar, granulated sugar or regular caster (superfine) sugar.

125 g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225 g golden caster (superfine) sugar, divided
4 large eggs
1 large orange
200 g ground almonds
100 g self-raising flour

for the lemon icing:
225 g icing sugar
1 lemon

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. 

Grease a 20cm springform tin with butter, and line the base with baking paper. 

Beat the softened butter with 125g of the caster sugar until it’s light and creamy, then crack in the eggs, one at a time, beating each one in well before adding the next. Finely grate in most of the orange zest, keeping back a few scrapings of the zest in a clingfilm-covered bowl. Fold in the ground almonds and sift in the flour. Mix and gently combine everything, then spoon batter into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until risen and lightly golden. To check that the cake is cooked through, poke a skewer or toothpick into the centre of the sponge. If it comes out clean, it’s done; if not, cook it for a few more minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin while you make the orange syrup. 

Put the remaining 100g of sugar into a pan and add the juice of the zested orange. Place the pan on a medium heat for a few minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. While the cake is still hot, poke lots of little holes in the top with a skewer/toothpick and pour the syrup all over it. Once all the syrup has been absorbed, move the cake to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and grate in most of the lemon zest. Keep back a few gratings, add them to the bowl of reserved orange zest, and cover again with clingfilm. Squeeze the lemon juice over the icing sugar and mix, adding more juice if needed until you get a good drizzling consistency. Once the cake has completely cooled, transfer it to a serving plate and pour the lemony icing all over the top, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Sprinkle over the reserved orange and lemon zest.

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