Saturday, 3 August 2013

Orange, Almond and Redcurrant Cake

My housemate found an unclaimed redcurrant bush during her exploration of deepest darkest Lillington. This was exciting news for me- free fruit, and lots of cooking opportunities. We went out with a few bags, and came back with far more currants than we thought possible from one small bush.

The first thing I made were little redcurrant tarts, which were a smaller version of Nigel Slater's redcurrant tart. If I owned a large tart tin, I would have made that instead, but I am limited to the ones I own. I may post a recipe for them- however the pastry is extremely fragile, and only 6 of the 12 pastry cases made it out of the tin without crumbling and breaking up. However, those 6 were delicious, and I will make the larger version when I procure a tin- I'll probably have to wait until next July for the next batch of fresh redcurrants though.

I am not sure where the idea for adding the redcurrants to Claudia Roden's rather famous orange and almond cake came from, but it was one I am really pleased with. The cake in it's original form is damp and aromatic, it makes a wonderfully understated but delicious pudding, as well as a nice cake to cut into as and when during the day (being such a moist cake, it keeps well)
It is also very easy, although does require some time- the first stage is to boil oranges for about 90 minutes, so you don't have to do anything, but you do have to wait for the oranges to get soft enough to easily blitz into a paste.

The addition of redcurrants looks really lovely, and adds bursts of tart fruit flavour. I think I prefer it this way, although perhaps it is slightly arrogant to think I have improved on a classic recipe.

The recipe for the cake can be found here. To make this version of the cake, you just need to sprinkle a small punnet of redcurrants over the uncooked cake batter, in the cake tin just before it goes into the oven.

We ate the first slices of the cake warm, with the leftover vanilla cream that never made it into those 6 pastry cased. It was perfect.

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