Friday, 25 October 2013

Orange and Almond Sponge with Dark Chocoblock Icing

This almond cake is wonderfully delicate, with subtle notes of both zesty citrus and creamy, biscuity ground almonds. It could even be called sophisticated, if it wasn't for the slab of thick dark chocolate icing unapologetically spread all over at the end. A needless vulgarity it may be, but as I've said many a time previously, there is always room in life for a little indecency.

With regards to the orange I decided to segment it for a change. Anyone who grew up with Ready Steady Cook will probably know precisely how to segment an orange, as they seemed to do it every week! However if you are unfamiliar with the concept all that is required is for you to zest an orange, then using a sharp knife, slice the top and the bottom from it. Once that is complete you then need to run the sharp knife along the outside top to bottom, turning as you go to remove the external skin and pith, then slice at an angle into each section, removing the segments (along with any juice that is released) into a small bowl. It is a very simple task, but if you have any issues at all leave a comment or tweet and I can provide further assistance if required!

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 50 Mins
150g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
175g Caster Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1tsp Baking Powder
200g Ground Almonds
1 Good Sized Orange, zested, segmented and the segments chopped into little nuggets of citrussy joy.

For the Chocoblock Icing
100g Unsalted Butter
200g Dark Chocolate (Broken into squares)
100g Icing Sugar
50g Toasted Almonds

We begin with the sponge! Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a 20cm deep loose-bottomed cake tin and line the base with baking paper. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the baking powder and almonds, mix until thoroughly combined, then tip in the chopped orange segments (along with any juice that is left). Mix to an even batter then pour into your prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 50 minutes, until a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are happy it is cooked, remove from the oven, leave in the tin for around 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack until completely cool.

For the icing melt the butter in a saucepan then pour over the dark chocolate. After a few minutes, with the occasional stir the chocolate should have melted entirely so at this stage add the icing sugar and mix until you are left with a thick icing, with no lumps. Spread the icing all over the cake. You can eat it straight away, but I personally like to wait until the icing has set firm. I'll leave this decision though to you.

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