Almond and orange cake

My best friend has just moved into a new flat and I wanted to make her a housewarming cake. Problem: I needed to leave Bath on Weds morning and wasn’t seeing her until Friday evening. I needed a cake that would survive three full days without drying out or losing its flavour. I needed a cake so moist that it would still be delicious. So, I invented this. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s pretty dense, but it’s also pretty delicious and does keep well!

200g ground almonds
50g light brown sugar
60g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
Zest and juice of one big orange
2 tlbsp milk (I used almond milk but any milk will work)
2 tblsp oil
1 tsp almond essence
2 tblsp amaretto
1 tblsp golden syrup
1 tblsp honey
1 tblsp maple syrup (or another of golden syrup or honey)

For the syrup:
1 dessert spoon honey
1 dessert spoon brown sugar
25ml orange juice
Juice of one lemon

Put the oven on to about 180 degrees. Grease and line a 9″ sandwich tin.

Whisk the egg with the milk. Grate all of the zest off the orange and put it in a massive bowl. Add all of the dry ingredients and give it a stir to mix. Add all of the liquid ingredients. Yes, I know it’s a lot of syrup, but this cake needs to be moist. Trust me.

You want a thick, stiff batter. If it’s too thick to stir add a bit more orange juice or amaretto. If it’s too thin, add a little more flour or ground almonds. You want it to not drop easily off the spoon but still be able to stir it.

Scrape the mixture into your cake tin and bake for about 45mins until slightly risen, golden brown on top and springy to the touch. Cover with foil after about 20mins to stop the top going crispy – it needs to be soft to soak up all the syrup. It won’t rise much, it will just sort of solidify! A knife should come out with lots of crumbs sticking to it but no raw mixture.

To make the syrup, combine all of the ingredients in a small pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar and honey have melted. Prick the warm cake all over with a fork or cocktail stick, then spoon over the warm syrup.

Leave to cool *completely* in the tin. The syrup will soak into the cake, leaving you with a slightly sticky top. Wrap well in foil making sure no air can get into the cake.

This is what it look like by Friday evening, having been made on Tuesday:

Still tasty!




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