Orange, Almond, Ginger and Bitter Chocolate Cake
Prep Time: 15 mins Cooking Time: 40 mins Serves: 8-10
There is a real festive feel to this cake and I think it is a good alternative for those who don’t like Christmas cake. You could cover it with candied or fresh kumquats to dress it up.
For the cake:
200g slightly salted butter, softened
200g raw cane sugar
250g ground almonds
Grated zest of 3 oranges
Juice of ½ orange
75g medium-ground polenta
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp cream of tartar
50g candied orange peel, roughly chopped
60g ginger, preserved in syrup, roughly chopped
80g 100% cacao, Willie recommends Hacienda Las Trincheras, roughly
(To use 70% cacao dark chocolate, replace the 100% cacao with 115g 70% chocolate and remove 35g of sugar.)
For the syrup:
Juice of 2 oranges
2½ tbsp ginger syrup (from the preserved ginger)
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Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly grease the cake tin and line with baking paper.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Blend in the ground almonds, followed by the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each one.
Mix in the orange zest and juice, then fold in the polenta flour, baking powder and cream of tartar. Finally, mix in the candied peel, preserved ginger and cacao, keeping back a little of all three to decorate.
Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the top and sprinkle over the pieces of reserved candied peel, preserved ginger and cacao.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a serving plate.
Prepare the syrup by placing the orange juice and ginger syrup in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook until reduced to about 65ml liquid. While still hot, brush the syrup all over the cake, using a pastry brush. Allow to the syrup glaze to cool completely before serving.
This cake will keep well for just over a week, if kept in a cool place in an airtight container.