Blog, Makes

Orange Cake

Orange Cake by Juliet Bawden from  www.creativecolour.org

With a plethora of oranges in the shops at the moment, now is the time for this cake. It is made from whole oranges, ground almonds, eggs and sugar and is totally gluten free, no flour or butter in this recipe.

Everyone has a signature dish and this is mine. There are many variations of this recipe, some with fewer and some with more oranges and I even found one with the addition of olive oil. This is my recipe and I have been making it for over thirty years and believed it to be Armenian in origin, but sadly that is not the case.  You will find a version of this cake anywhere that  oranges are grown, including  southern Europe and the middle and near east. It is quite moist and pudding like in texture.

HINTS and TIPS

Because oranges vary so much in size it can be hard to judge the quantities. If the mixture seems too wet before you put it in the oven, stir in more ground almonds.

If the oranges are not organic, change the water after half an hour and bring to the boil again.

I often cook this cake in the evening and if it is not cooked through, after an hour and a half, I turn off the heat and leave it overnight to finish cooking  in the  oven.

YOU WILL NEED

4 (preferably organic) oranges

6 eggs

250g ground almonds

250g castor sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Flaked almonds

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

Spring form loose bottom cake tin 23cm wide

Food processor

Baking parchment

Mixing bowl

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Put the oranges in a saucepan, boil until soft, up to a couple of hours. Throw away the water and leave the oranges to cool. Turn on the oven to 160 degrees. Line the cake tin with baking parchment.

2. Cut the oranges into quarters and remove any pips and the pith from the middle. Put the quarters, including the peel, into the food processor, and blitz into a pulp. Pour the pulp into a bowl and put to one side. (you only need to do this if your food processor is a small one).

3. Break the eggs into the food processor, add the sugar, baking powder and ground almonds and blitz. Once finished, mix with the orange pulp.

4 Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and put in the oven for one hour. After an hour sprinkle the flaked almonds on top of the cake and put it back in the oven. If after another half an hour the cake is not cooked through, cover the top of the cake with baking parchment and check it regularly.

Blog, Uncategorized, Workshop

CAKE COFFEE & CRAFT Macmillan Cancer Support

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I recently hosted a  macmillan coffee morning, partly in memory of the three male friends that I lost to cancer this year, and partly because I think it is an excellent charity.

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I was also raising money, as my brother had a very aggressive form of throat cancer diagnosed in February. When I first saw him he had a tumour the size of an orange on his neck. He no longer has teeth or tonsils and the cure was grim and it takes a very brave person to endure it. However two days ago he was given the all clear. The cancer has gone. I would like to thank all the kind people who were involved in his recovery particularly Anita and all the NHS staff who worked so hard and encouraged him at his low points.

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This fund raising event, that takes place all over the UK raises shed loads of money and with all that good will and with all the latest research it looks like many cancers will soon be a thing of the past or at least easier to treat.

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This year my event was little different as it was Coffee, Cake and Craft.
I stage many craft events, the last large one being for the managers of the LEON restaurants.
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Creating and making are such important activities for our sense of well-being. It can be a method of getting totally into the zone and engaging the brain in the appointed activity and excluding all the everyday worries and anxieties that keep nagging at us. Or by engaging with others doing a similar activity it can be a very joyful, friendly and comforting event.

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The craft I chose was very simple and involved pom-pom making. Pom-poms are great as they are simple and inexpensive to make and most people remember making them at school using two discs of cardboard to construct them. Pom poms can be used to make headdresses or Christmas decorations or used decoratively to embellish a bag, throw or cushion.

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What the event achieved, apart from raising funds, was to draw people together and encourage them to become involved and to engage with one another.

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Blog, book review, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Want to make a really special cake? Then look no further, we bring you CAKEOLOGY by Juliet Sear

Published by Hardie Grant Hardback £20 eBook £10

With the book world going bonkers about The Great British Bake Off everyone is talking, eating and dreaming cake, so it is a good time to review a book by the Queen of the Cakewalk and founder of the popular baking boutique Fancy Nancy, Juliet Sear.

The book opens with a description of the essential tool kit followed by a warning, ‘do not start the projects before reading this.’ The body of the book is essentially about cake decorating and obviously before starting you need a cake to decorate. Juliet advises making large sponge cakes a day or two in advance and chilling to make them easier to work on and with. The final chapter gives the invaluable insiders knowledge with Juliet’s tried and tested recipes.

Juliet has chosen her publisher well, Hardie Grant are known for stylish beautiful cookery books and this is no exception. It is always very satisfying when a publisher bothers to style the pictures enticingly, even on the tools and materials pages.

Spoilt for choice with such a diverse range of cakes featured, it is very hard to pick one favourite. I love the ‘day of the dead’ inspired black skull cake decorated with bright patterns, flowers and symbols. Juliet is a cake artist specialising in hand painting, the three-tiered bird cake is beautiful. Other favourites are the Wedgewood inspired vase of flowers cake with fresh flower decorations and the cupcake bouquet that features a real vase with very gorgeous life like cup cake flowers. Even though this is a cake book, biscuits are included, there are adorable Dalmatians and kitschy acid coloured wooly jumpers and even love heart biscuits.

With over 20 recipes, easy to follow instructions and clear diagrams for a great number of techniques along with lovely photographs, this book takes you beyond the basics of baking into the realm where cake design merges with the world of arts and crafts.