I baked this cake during Christmas time last year as an alternative to the traditional fruit cake. Though I bake fruit cake religiously every year, I’ve noticed that not too many people like the raisins in it. I also baked a rum cake, but some people, including my husband Jose Paul, thought it had a bit too much rum in it. So, I kept looking out for some sort of fruit-and-nut cake to bake during X’mas, and chanced upon this. While I love citrusy flavours, I tend to lean towards lemon all the time. I was a bit sceptical about oranges, but it was a good change from the usual. I loved the rich, buttery and nutty taste, and the dense texture. And, yes, the slight golden hue. It is an ideal thing to serve if you are having people over for tea. I mostly had it for breakfast, I love to have cakes for breakfast.
190 g unsalted butter, softened
190 g plain flour
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
190 g caster sugar (check note for substitute)
3 large eggs
60 g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
25 g plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
10 g flaked almonds
*Preheat the oven to 175 C, 10 mins before baking. Grease a 9 inch loaf tin, with butter and dust with flour.
*Using a handheld electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, orange zest and sugar until the mixture is soft and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, every now and then to ensure the eggs and butter are properly mixed in.
*In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Tip the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture in two batches and whisk together on a low speed until just incorporated, then mix in the yogurt and vanilla essence.
*Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 mins (refer notes), or until the sponge is firm on top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
*Remove from the oven and allow the loaf to cool, a little before turning it out of the tin on to a wire rack to cool completely for serving.
*You can store the cake at room temp for 2-3 days. This cake tends to dry out easily, so make sure you wrap it nicely in a cling film and store it.
*I used 2 oranges to get the required quantity of the zest. My cake was ready in 40-45 mins.
*For caster sugar substitute, just pulse normal sugar in a grinder for a few seconds. Make sure you don’t powder it.
(Recipe adapted from ‘Cake Days, The Hummingbird Bakery’)