Sunday, 18 December 2011

Orange Festive Layer Cake

I've been watching a lot of Jamie Oliver on 4od recently, and he really really seems to like putting orange zest in almost everything at this time of year.  It is an awesome flavour but it's one of those things which is a hassle to get at if you don't have the right equipment.  One of these days I will work out how to steal the other half of the zest back from a traditional grater after using the little diamond-punch-holes; in the meantime, I recommend you acquire one of these:
You can get them from Lakeland and they really really are the best.  More dangerous for your fingers, sure, but they are the Global Knives of the grater world.  I am struggling to justify getting one for myself after spending money on Christmas presents and really needing my own camera to take photos for this blog!

The whole point of watching cookery shows is not (in my humble opinion) to try and learn or steal the recipes there shown but to work out which general flavours and techniques the chefs are using and steal them.  One such I learnt was marmalade and game - another was a reminder to break out the orange zest.   This is my Jamie tribute, and a change from both a traditional Christmas fruitcake and my usual Nigella Lawson Certosino with candied fruit on top.

Orange Festive Layer Cake
You Will Need: shallow rectangular tin, greaseproof paper and scissors; little plate, cheese-grater, lemon squeezer; small saucepan, scales, chopping board and sharp knife, large bowl and wooden spoon, whisk, plate, teaspoon, large plate.

4oz caster sugar
4oz Kerry Gold butter (I should get a sponsorship deal from them one of these days)
3 star anise

1/2 tsp ginger
8 cloves
2/3 oranges
2 eggs
4oz self-raising flour

1) Preheat the oven to 180degrees C.  Line the bottom of your tin with a sheaf of greaseproof paper. 
2) Zest the oranges onto a little plate.  Juice one of the oranges.  Add the juice to the sugar in the saucepan over a low heat and stir until dissolved.  Simmer very slowly.  Add the anise, cloves and ginger to the sugar.
3) Beat the eggs in the large bowl until well blended.
4) After a few minutes, fish the whole star anise and cloves if you can find them out of the sugar. Peel the  oranges or three or four clementines and and slice them into half-centimetre rounds.  Gently add these to the pan, coat in sugar and use to line the bottom of the tin. 
5) Cut the butter into small chunks and melt into the sugar.  Stir until blended on a low heat, then gradually  whisk into the eggs in the large bowl.
6) Add the orange zest to the eggs.  Stir to mix.  Add the flour a little at a time. Gently pour the cake mix over the oranges in the tin and spread out evenly.
7) Bake for 15-20 mins or to clean skewer stage.
8) Allow to cool completely before turning out onto a plate, so that the bottom orange layer is now uppermost.  To do this, put the plate over the top of the tin upside-down, grasp the bottom of the tin firmly and turn over.  Remove the tin and papers.  
9) Serve cold or warmed, with a glass of Grand Marnier and something creamy.

Pro Tip:  If you doubled or even tripled the quantities, you could layer these one on top of the other to make an even fancier concoction.

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