Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Torta de Naranja

Here's my take on this classic Spanish orange cake. I've really cranked the flavour notes up a notch by using both almond and orange extract and I have to say the result is an unbelievably good cake. It's sweet and syrupy, with a soft texture that melts in the mouth and a fragrance that lingers on the palate long after your final mouthful. I've left the syrup quite tart, as I think it adds a mild spikiness that compliments the toothsome sponge. You'll also notice that as well as being very easy to make, it's both dairy and flour free. So if you have an allergy or intolerance, have at it!

Prep Time: 15 Mins
Baking Time: 45 Mins
4 Medium Eggs (Separated)
200g Caster Sugar
1tsp Almond Extract
1tsp Orange Extract
2 Oranges
1tsp Baking Powder
200g Ground Almonds
25g Caster Sugar (For syrup)

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease/line the base of a 20cm loose bottomed tin. In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks with 190g of the sugar until light and creamy, then stir through both of the extracts, along with the zest of the oranges and the baking powder. In a separate (larger) bowl, whisk the egg whites with the final 10g of sugar until you are left with stiff peaks. Despite everyone recommending it, I wouldn't use that test where you hold the bowl over your head. That's just asking for trouble! Fold through the egg yolk mix, a spoonful at a time until combined. Do the same with the ground almonds, until you are left with a light and voluminous batter. Carefully pour into your tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, until a skewer can be cleanly removed from the centre of the cake.

Take the cake out of the oven and leave in the tin whilst you get on with the syrup. Squeeze the juice of the oranges into a measuring jug and top up with water, until you are left with 100ml (You may not need to do this). Pour into a saucepan with the 25g of sugar and turn up the heat full on underneath. Let it boil and bubble away, stirring occasionally until it just starts to go syrupy. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to one side. Remove the cake from the tin (It should have started to come away from the sides) and place on a wire rack. Pierce the top with a toothpick or skewer, then brush the hot syrup evenly on top. It should take all of the syrup. Leave to cool completely, then munch away!

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