I have been making this cake for years with ordinary oranges. It is adapted from Nigella’s clementine cake in How to Eat.
Due to my current fascination with blood oranges I decided to make it with those instead. I wanted to make it a bit more special and when I was looking up ideas for blood orange cakes I came across a type of upside down cake on Not Quite Nigella. I decided to try adding the sliced orange layer and it turned out really good. You can thinly slice the oranges with a mandolin but I use a sharp knife. The last time I came across a mandolin I ended up in A&E! Don’t ask.
You can skip the step of slicing and boiling the oranges as the plain cake itself is really good. Some people thought the slices made it too orange-y and preferred the cake without. It doesn’t need a syrup like many citrus cakes do. It is very moist, lasts for several days in an airtight tight and actually gets better the day after you make it. Even though I haven’t tried it I believe it freezes very well too. It is also wheat and dairy free and if you use the correct baking powder, it will be gluten free.
For the cake:
- 375g of your chosen oranges (approx. 2 blood oranges)
- 6 large eggs
- 225g caster sugar
- 250g ground almonds
- 1 heaped tsp of baking powder
If adding the layer of orange slices:
- 2 oranges thinly sliced
- 200g caster sugar
- 125ml water
- First, put the whole oranges in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 2 hours. When they are soft enough to pierce with a knife they are done. When they have cooled, cut them in half and remove the pips. Put the oranges – skins and all – into a food processor and blitz to a pulp.
- If you want to add the layer of oranges, slice them thinly. In a wide saucepan add the sugar and water and heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the oranges and bring to the boil. Reduce and simmer for about 15 mins until the peel starts to become see-through. Remove the orange slices with a slotted spoon and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan/gas mark 5. Butter and line an 8 inch springform tin.
Layer the orange slices at the bottom of the tin and cover with the liquid batter
- Arrange the sliced oranges on the bottom of the cake tin.
- Beat the eggs adding the sugar, almonds and baking powder. Mix well, then add the pulped oranges and mix well again until everything is fully incorporated. It is a very wet cake batter in case you get anxious at this stage.
- Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour. You should cover with foil or greaseproof paper after about 35 minutes to stop the top from burning.
- When a cake skewer comes out clean, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack, but leave it in the tin until fully cooled.