Ask Peter: An easy Easter cake
My husband has his 70th birthday this year. I need to have a cake that is still yummy days after I make it. I’d need to make it Wednesday for an Easter Saturday birthday. Hopefully you can help me in this dilemma.
Thank you, Lizzie
To be honest, most good cakes, if glazed or iced, will keep for three days. I’ve even had a sponge that was covered in a white chocolate icing, filled with strawberry jam and candied pineapple, that was remarkably delicious four days later. The sponge was quite a firm one and the jam and pineapple kept it moist without going soggy. The icing stopped the moisture evaporating from the cake itself, so all in all, even though it was a light cake base, it kept moist.
And to be honest, most cafes you visit regularly will not be throwing their cakes out at the end of each day, but covering them tightly and using them for several days. That’s how we treated our cakes and biscuits when I was a kid.
As it’s going to be Easter, it makes sense to use chocolate somehow in the cake. This recipe is one I’ve been making since I was an apprentice chef in Melbourne - 33 years or so ago. It’s from the Egyptian mother of a chef friend and it’s a recipe you’ll see appearing in numerous cookbooks every year. It’s dense and moist, and is gluten and dairy free (apart from the ganache).
I’ve found it really helpful to have in my repertoire for those dietary reasons. You can replace some of the orange with lemon, mandarin or tangelos - just make sure you remove all the pips - and use whichever spices you prefer. You can also replace up to quarter of the ground almonds with desiccated coconut.
Boiled orange and almond cake with chocolate ganache
3 oranges, skins wiped
250g caster sugar
300g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
- Heat oven to 170C fan-forced. Line the base of a 25cm spring-form cake tin with baking parchment. Don’t grease it.
- Put oranges in a pot, cover with water and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat to a gentle boil, put a lid on, and cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove the oranges from the water, cut in half, remove seeds and leave to cool for 20 minutes.
- Cut the orange halves into quarters and place in a food processor with the sugar. Blitz to a paste.
- Add everything else and blitz again to a paste.
- Pour into tin and flatten surface. Bake 40-50 minutes.
- Test the cake with a skewer — it will come out a little moist (that’s the nature of the cake) but make sure there is no uncooked batter.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for an hour or more. Take it from the tin and lay on a plate, then pour the ganache over and even up with a spatula. (You could also take the cake un-iced and finish it on the day.)
250g chocolate, broken into small pieces (use a chocolate between 30 – 70 per cent cocoa solids)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Warm the cream almost to boiling in a pan. Take off the heat and leave 1 minute.
- Add the chocolate and vanilla all at once and gently stir until it has completely melted.
- If it is quite runny, leave to firm up a little before pouring on the cake or it may run off.
In our Ask Peter series, executive chef Peter Gordon answers your curly culinary questions. If you're stumped over something food-related, send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep checking in for answers. You can read more on Peter on his website, have a read of his Ask Peter articles or check out his recipes here.