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.

Three easy ways to decorate Easter eggs

NATURAL DYEING

Naturally dyed eggs

White eggs can be dyed using all sorts of vegetables and fruits. As a rule the longer the egg is in the dye bath the deeper the colour achieved. White eggs can be difficult to come by, but many Asian stores sell them or you can use white duck eggs.

Use yellow onion-skins to make various shades of terra cotta. The best blues came from red cabbage, the results ranging from lilac, to French blue and lavender. Beetroot gives a pale pinky fawn colour and for a yellow use turmeric.

Instructions for preparing the eggs for dyeing:

  1. Place the eggs in cold water and bring to the boil, simmer for at least 6 minutes or until they are hard-boiled. Leave them to cool.
  2. When the eggs are cold rub their shells with kitchen roll dipped in vinegar.

TO MAKE NATURAL DYES FOR EGGS

You will need:

Jam jars (3 for each batch of dye)

Measuring jug

Spoon for stirring

White eggs

White vinegar

Salt

Bicarbonate of soda

Master Recipe for Making Natural Dyes

  1. To make the blue dye chop up a medium head of red cabbage. Put chopped cabbage into a large pan and add enough water to cover by 1cm, then boil for 40 minutes. Strain the coloured water into a jug, then pour 150 ml of dyed water into each of the three jam jars.
  2. To the first jar of dye add 3 teaspoons of white vinegar.
  3. To the second jar of dye add 3 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda.
  4. To the third jar of dye add 3 teaspoons of salt.
  5. Add the egg to the dye and agitate it frequently so that you get an even coating of dye over the egg.
  6. The 3 mixtures produce different varieties of blues and mauves.
  7. When the eggs are the colour you want remove them from dye and leave to dry in an egg carton.

To make terracotta from onion skins, use the papery skins from five large onions then follow steps1-7 of the master recipe.

To make yellow dye using turmeric:

  1. Put 6 tablespoons of turmeric in a medium pan and slowly stir in water until you have a thick yellow brew which is deep enough to cover the eggs you are dying, add 3 dsp white vinegar.
  2. Simmer for 20 minutes, then leave to get cold. Add the eggs and follow steps 1-7 of the master recipe.

LEAF PRINT EGGS USING NATURAL DYES

leaf printed eggs

You will need:

White eggs

Saucer of water

Dye solution (see natural dying)

Freshly picked leaves

Scissors

Old tights

Instructions

  1. Cut a square of mesh from the tights a bit larger than the egg, remember it is stretchy so it doesn’t need to be over large.
  2. To help the leaf curve around the egg dip in the water, then press it onto a white egg.
  3. Holding the leaf in place, wrap the piece of mesh from the tights round the egg and the leaf, then stretch tight and knot at the back.
  4. Place the egg in the dye solution and agitate it regularly to get an even coverage.
  5. Once you have the depth of colour want remove the eggs from the dye bath and carefully cut away the tights to reveal a beautiful leaf imprint. Leave to dry in an egg carton.

close up leaf printed eggs

DECOUPAGED EGGS

Decoupaged Tree Egg Close up

You will need:

Polystyrene eggs in a variety of sizes

Found images you want to use in the decoration

Small paper cutting scissors or a craft knife

Newsprint

PVA glue

Dress makers pins

Bakers twine

Instructions

  1. Rip up newspaper into very narrow strips cover each strip in glue and stick it onto the egg.
  2. Lay the strips next to one another until the whole of the egg is covered. Leave to dry on a radiator.
  3. Cut out the feature motif to place on the egg and glue this onto the dry newsprint covered egg.
  4. Cut a piece of string and make a loop. Pin the loop into the top of the egg and hang from a twig or branch.

Decoupaged eggs

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