Oranges come into their own during the midst of our winter here in the UK. They are a main ingredient in two of our favourite cake recipes: navel oranges are used in the first and, unusually, boiled clementines in the second.
The clementine cake was a new addition to the menu on breadmaking courses last winter and it’s a big hit, so here to stay. One for the gluten-free repertoire - and dairy-free if you don’t grease the tin with butter.
I’ve included the zucchini loaf because courgettes are still appearing in veg boxes and local farm shops.
We always use the small (400g) Bread Matters loaf tins for this. It’s the equivalent of a ‘one pound’ loaf tin, but deeper and narrower than anything you’re likely to find elsewhere, which mea that it produces a ‘bold’ loaf makes it ideal for baking a perfectly-formed Borodinsky, seeded rye or wholemeal tin.
St. Clement’s Cake
Adapted from Nigel Slater’s demerara lemon cake
(in The Kitchen Diaries 2005).
The first alteration I made to this recipe was to substitute olive oil for the butter and use equal proportions of light rye and ground almonds instead of wholemeal flour.
The cake evolved further into St Clement’s cake when I had only one lemon but plenty of oranges. This version stays wonderfully moist and has pieces of juicy fruit peel dispersed throughout the cake.
For the cake:
olive oil 240g
raw cane sugar 300g
light rye flour 135g
ground almonds 135g
baking powder one tsp
one large lemon and one large orange
large eggs 6
For the topping and syrup:
half a lemon and half an orange, plus the juice from 1 lemon or 1 orange
raw cane sugar or honey 6 tablespoons
water 6 tablespoons
A rectangular loaf tin (25 x 10 x 8cm).
The large baking tins from Bread Matters are perfect for this as they create a long, deep cake. Although the tins are non-stick and a loaf of bread is easily released, it's wise to line the tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment to ensure the cake comes out cleanly.
Topping and syrup:
1 Slice the lemon and orange very thinly, removing the pips, and cut the slices so that the pieces are no more than 2cm. Put them in a saucepan with the extra juice, sugar and water.
2 Bring to the boil and keep boiling for 5 minutes or more, until the fruit pieces are sticky and the liquid has become syrup. Scoop out all but a few of the fruit pieces; reserve them to place on top of the cake before baking.
3 Weigh the flour and ground almonds and mix them together with the baking powder.
4 Grate the zest of the orange and the lemon and them to the flour mixture.
5 Beat together the sugar and eggs in a food mixer until well blended. Keep blending, more slowly if you can, while you stream in the olive oil. The idea is to keep some of the air trapped while you add the oil, but don’t worry if it drops back.
6 Use a large metal spoon to fold the almond and flour mixture into the oil, sugar and egg mixture.
7 Scoop the mixture into the loaf tin and lay the reserved pieces of fruit (from the syrup) over the top of the cake. Some will stay on the top and brown and others will sink into the mixture.
8 Bake for around one and a quarter hours at 150˚C, until risen and golden. If you are not confident in using the 'spring-back' test, insert a fine metal skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
9 When the cake has cooled, pour two tablespoons of the syrup, and the remaining fruit pieces, over the top of it. Keep any remaining syrup to pour over later servings.
Sliced thinly, this makes a lovely tea time cake. A thicker piece, served with cream or crème fraîche and an extra spoonful of the syrup, serves as a glamorous pudding. We sometimes serve it with sheeps' milk yoghurt and preserved oranges in syrup.
Nigella’s Clementine Cake
from Unwrapped: Green & Black’s Chocolate Recipes
Clementines, skin on, 4 or 5 weighing 375g (13oz)
Melted butter for greasing
large eggs 6
sugar 225g (8 oz)
ground almonds 250g (9oz)
baking powder heaped teaspoon
good quality dark chocolate 100g (3½oz)
Put the clementines in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 2 hours. Drain and set aside to cool. The cut each Clementine in half and remove the pips. Then pulp everything – skins, pith and the fruit in a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 190º/375ºF/gas mark 5. Butter and line a 20cm (8in)* springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almonds and baking powder. Mix well, add the pulped clementines, then stir together. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cover the cake with foil or greaseproof paper after about 40 minutes to prevent the top from burning. Remove from the oven and immediately grate the chocolate over the top of the cake while still in the tin. Leave to cool completely. Remove from the tin and store in an airtight container.
Don’t be tempted to serve this cake warm. Once it has cooled the texture becomes moist and the flavours of the almonds and oranges take hold. It is best served the day after it is made.
That Chocolate Beetroot Cake
The original version of this comes from Annette Gibbons’ Home Grown in Cumbria (Zymurgy publishing 2005), a guide to some of the best growers and producers in Cumbria, along with recipes that do their produce justice. Annette describes herself as a ‘professional cook, not a chef’ and health is an important consideration in her recipes.
Other Home Grown in Cumbria recipes I can vouch for include herb-filled carrot roulade, baked trout, and hazelnut meringues with berry cream. Annette has prepared them for celebratory meals, including at least one Royal visit and, at less than three weeks’ notice, for our wedding in 2008.
Predictably, I’ve adapted this recipe to use organic olive oil rather than sunflower oil.
A mixture of light rye flour with baking powder and ground almonds replaces the self-raising flour, making for a lusciously moist cake that keeps well.
You can save time and effort by roasting the beetroot, whole or halved, without peeling them at all. Simply scrub them well, cut off the knobbliest part of the top and base and leave the skin on as it will easily lift off when the beetroot has been roasted in some good olive or vegetable oil.
cocoa powder 65g
half-and-half light rye flour and ground almonds, with a pinch of salt 275g
and baking powder 10g
caster sugar 220g
olive oil 300ml
vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
medium sized eggs, beaten 3
cooked beetroot, grated 250g
Sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking powder, ground almonds and sugar together.
Whisk the olive oil, vanilla essence and eggs together until they thicken. It may take five minutes or more of whisking to emulsify and begin to look like mayonnaise.
Add the beetroot and mix well with the dry ingredients. It will turn a vivid purple colour.
Pour into two prepared 7” sandwich tins or one deep tin.
Bake in a preheated oven at 190C (gas mark 5 or 375 F).
Sandwich cakes will take about 35 minutes and deeper cakes longer.
dark chocolate 150g
double cream 150ml
Double these quantities if you want to cover the top as well as filling the cake.
Use the best ingredients you can get hold of. Montezuma’s organic 73% cocoa dark couverture is my favourite chocolate for baking.
Warm the cream in a saucepan until it is almost boiling. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring it while it melts. Whisk the mixture until it becomes glossy. (A mixer will do this in a minute or two.) Use the ganache to sandwich the two cakes and (if you wish) to cover the top.
For a special occasion, I sometimes decorate this cake with little beetroots, made from home made marzipan and coloured with the beetroot juice.
Bread Matters’ Zucchini Loaf
This recipe was devised by Andrew to make something delicious from the glut of courgettes we often have in the summer. Each loaf (we have decided not to call it ‘bread’ as it is raised with baking powder and is really a cake) takes only 150g of courgette. That doesn’t make it a solution to all the excess produce - or a way of sneaking courgette into the diet of resistant family members.
Most vegetable gardeners have a story about over-production. My favourite comes from a baking friend Angus who told us that, in the part of rural Canada he comes from, the only time his neighbours ever lock their cars is during the zuchini glut. They never worry that anyone will steal belongings from their parked car or pickup, but they won’t run the risk of finding a generous truck-load of courgettes stowed in it when they return.
Last year we produced even more green tomatoes than even I can serve fried in breadcrumbs, so we substituted them, very successfully, for the zuchini. Whichever moist green vegetable you choose, the cake will be delicious on its own, good with cheese and freeze well.
Here’s the recipe, in the usual industrial quantities:
Ingredients grams grams
Egg 800 400
Olive Oil 400 200
Raw Cane Sugar 800 400
Courgette (grated) 1200 600
Flour (Light Rye) 1200 600
Baking Powder 45 25
Cardamom (ground) 90 45
Salt 20 10
Raisins 500 250
Walnuts 500 250
Total weight 5555 2780
Yield @ 660g 8 4
Beat the egg and sugar together until slightly fluffy. Then drizzle in the oil allowing the mixture to absorb some before adding more. The mix will be fairly liquid but should be smooth and a little aerated. Add the grated courgette and stir briefly. Sift together the dry ingredients and add them to the mix. Finally, add the raisins and walnuts and mix until everything is well-distributed.
Deposit into greased and floured baking tins (or non-stick ones). The mix should come between half way and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the tin. Put immediately into an oven pre-heated to about 190 °C/375°F. Baking will take about 30 minutes. If the top is taking too much colour before the middle of the loaf is done (as tested with a skewer), cover it with a sheet of silicone paper or similar.
The recipe includes salt because, unlike most baking fats (butter, margarine etc) oil doesn’t come with added salt. You can, of course, leave it out but you may feel that the flavour of the finished loaf ‘lacks something’.
660 g fits into a 400g loaf tin.
Bread Matters' small baking tins are perfect for this as they are narrower and higher than the average tin - producing a bold, well-risen little cake.