Whole orange and poppyseed dessert cake
( SERVES 12 )
Photo by Tamara West
Oranges have such a lot to offer — sweet juice, intense fragrant zest and the mild bitterness of the pith. I’ve noticed that Italians are very happy with bitterness; unlike many of us they embrace the taste experience it offers. (As an aside, if you’ve never tried the favourite Italian drink “chinotto’’ give it a go, it’s bitter and dark like cola but made from the fruit of the same name, also referred to as the “myrtle leaved-orange” tree.) This dense moist cake uses two whole oranges, simmering them to soften the intensity of the zest a little but retaining all the moisture they contain. Combined with almond meal, sultanas and poppy seeds, the result is rich in taste and texture, but not particularly sweet. I like to serve this well chilled, somehow it makes the plump juicy sultanas extra pleasing to bite into. A dollop of natural yoghurt on the side goes well.
- Place the oranges in a small pot and cover with water. Simmer for 2 hours then discard water and cool.
- Blend oranges in a food processor until smooth. Add almond meal, poppy seeds, sunflower oil and salt then process until well combined.
- Bring the sultanas, orange juice, honey and lemon juice to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until sultanas have plumped up and liquid is almost all absorbed. Combine with first mixture and mix well. Pour into a lined 20cm cake tin and bake for 45 minutes at 170C until golden on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then turn upside down on to a serving plate.
- For the drizzle, heat orange juice in a pot for about five minutes to make a syrup, then pour evenly over the cake. Chill well before serving.