Orange and Almond Cake
This is one of my favourite cakes, it is so wonderfully moist and has a delicious orange flavour. I was first introduced to it when I was nineteen. It was my first year in London and being a Benoni girl was not accustomed to good restaurants and “out-of-the-ordinary” ingredients.
One day, the lady who I was au pairing for was invited to go to The Bermondsey Kitchen, a newly opened restaurant on Bermonsdesy street. My employer told me that the restaurant’s menu was not only very modern but that its menu change daily. Being someone (albeit from Benoni) who is very excited about food, could not help but be intrigued by the concept and wondered what food graced its menu(s). Luckily, the lunch date that my employer was to attend was also a play date. The friend that had invited her too had a spoilt two-year old that would love to meet my employer’s spoilt two-year old. Which meant me having to tag along and make sure the two spoilt two-year olds’ played nicely together (and most importantly out of the parents hair).
I was very happy to tag along and have my first experience of a London restaurant. It so happened that this restaurant would turn out to be the one that I would later work for – I think it was this cake that made me pursue a job there, and the wanted sign on the window I suppose contributed.
The restaurant was unpretentious and had a lovely warm feeling. I ordered a type of a Middle Eastern tapas plate. The plate came with felafels, tabouli, carrot and harissa sala, baba ganoush and flat bread. The plate seemed so foreign to me and it tasted so wonderful all the spices and herbs sent my taste buds on a culinary journey. The food inspired me and made me want to cook. It was then that I chose the Orange and Almond cake for dessert. The cake did not disappoint – it was sweet and moist and had a beautiful orange aroma. The sourness of the crème fraîche cut through the sweetness and complimented the orange flavour . I was told that the cake used no flour and required two whole oranges to make – this was too much for me and I felt that I needed to leave baby-sitting and peruse the position listed on the window.
Orange and Almond Cake:
2 large oranges
250g caster Sugar
250g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder.
crème fraîche, to taste
Put the whole oranges in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for up to two hours. Check the water to ensure they don’t boil dry. After two hours, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Remove the oranges from the water. Cut in half and remove the pips. Place them in a blender or food processor, skin and all, with all of the remaining ingredients and blend until mixed. Put the mixture into a greased and lined cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Let the cake cool before serving with a dollop of crème fraîche