I find inspiration in the strangest places, be it a sound, a scent or in this case a bloody great orange refrigerator! That may seem rather odd, but when one is as near monomaniacal about baking as I then ideas can be born from almost anywhere.
Once I clapped eyes on the beautiful tangerine beast in question my mind was awash with ideas, from tarty tarts to sugared shortbread. However, marrying the sweet citrus tangerine flavour with toasted hazelnuts proved too tempting a combination to resist and once the thought had entered my mind, I just had to come up with a recipe...
Prep time: 30 Mins
Baking time: 55 Mins
100g Blanched Whole Hazelnuts
200g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
200g Caster Sugar
3 Large Eggs
100g Ground Almonds
1tsp Baking Powder
1hpd tbsp Plain Flour
For the white chocolate icing
100g White Chocolate
50g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
100g Icing Sugar
1tsp Orange Blossom Water
Righty ho, let us begin with the hazelnuts. Place the hazelnuts in a dry flat pan over a medium heat and leave to brown, rolling the nuts around every minute or so to prevent them scorching. Once they are nicely coloured, remove from the pan and leave to cool on a plate for about 15 minutes.
Once they have cooled slightly, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a 20cm deep cake tin and line with baking paper. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Zest the tangerines (take care with this as the tangerine peel is quite delicate) then add to the mixture, along with the juice from each.
You will now need to grind the hazelnuts, which I do using a mini electric food chopper. The key here is to stop grinding or chopping the nuts as soon as they start to release their oils. You can tell when this is happening as the nuts will start to become a little claggy as they are blitzing. At this stage tip the finely ground hazelnuts into the cake mixture, along with almonds, baking powder and flour then fold through until evenly combined. Even at this stage the cake mixture will have a beautiful, almost intoxicating aroma.
Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 55 minutes, until a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are happy the cake is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin, before carefully removing.
This icing is entirely optional, but I think it provides a thoroughly lovely other dimension to an already fantastic cake. To make it melt the white chocolate either over a bain-marie or in the microwave, then set to one side for ten minutes to cool slightly. Cream together the butter and icing sugar, then add the melted chocolate along with the orange blossom water. Spread thinly over the top of the cooled cake and that's it, all done.