I admit it. I am completely obsessed with blood oranges. They're never in season for long so while they are I like to use them as often as I can. I am not much of a sweet tooth so usually I use the blood oranges in salads, segmenting them to add a citrus zing to green salads with everything from salmon to steak.
To extend my blood orange repertoire and share a simple and gorgeous recipe with you here, I have adapted my favourite Persian Orange and Almond Cake recipe.
The original recipe is one I found a few years back via Taste.com.au and is always a hit. It uses navel oranges and spices and is finished with a orange blossom syrup. It is also fail-proof in my eyes which makes it far less daunting for those of you who aren't all that confident with baking. To make everyone happy it is also lactose and gluten free. The last time I made the original recipe the entire cake disappeared in less than 5 minutes so I'd suggest making a double batch or there's bound to be tears.
My blood orange version is beautiful. A special seasonal version that is a deep pinkish orange colour with a sweet blood orange blossom syrup will brighten your day and make everyone beg for more.
This cake really is amazingly good...
On second thoughts, maybe you'll need a triple batch...
BLOOD ORANGE and ALMOND CAKE
2-3 blood oranges (use 3 if they are small, as this equates to 2 navel oranges)
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
3 cups almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Mascarpone to serve
1 extra blood orange for the cake decoration
1/2 cup of shelled pistachios to sprinkle on top to serve
Blood Orange Blossom Syrup
1 blood orange
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1. Place blood oranges in a pot of water, covering them. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes. Drain. Repeat this process of boiling for 15 minutes and draining twice more (3 times in total). After the third time, drain the blood oranges and coarsely chop. Set them aside to cool to room temperature.
2. While the blood oranges are cooling, preheat a fan forced oven to 160 degrees celsius, then grease and line a 20cm springform tin.
3. Place the chopped blood oranges in a food processor and process until smooth.
4. In a separate bowl place the sugar and eggs. Use electric mixer to whisk eggs and sugar together until they become thick and pale.
5. Add the blood orange, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom to the egg and sugar mixture. Gently fold this together until just combined. Spoon the batter into prepared cake tin and smooth the surface. Place the cake tin into the oven and set your timer for 30 minutes.
6. While the first 30 minutes begins, make the Blood Orange Blossom Syrup. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
7. Just before the first 30 minutes is complete, slice the additional blood orange very thinly. You can choose to use 5 slices, or more if you intend to create a border around the entire cake. Once cut, use tongs or a fork to dip each slice into the syrup. Allow excess syrup to drain off and place onto a separate plate.
8. Move quickly for this step and be careful of your hot oven. As the first 30 minutes ends, quickly open the door and place the thin blood orange slices on the edge of the cake. Overlap them slightly as they shrink. Quickly close the door again and set your time for a final 30-40 minutes. The cake is cooked when you can insert a skewer into the centre and it comes out clean. Set the cake aside to cool completely.
To Serve: When ready to serve, place the cake on a cake plate, drizzle with syrup and top with pistachios. Serve each slice on individual plates with a dollop of mascarpone.
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