I’ve ended up with some extra time on my hands, so here is the promised cake post, just to give a tiny bit of variety. This cake was good, like a posh Jaffa Cake (other orange based biscuits are available). It was more dense that I wanted, but the taste was fine, and it was very moist as a result. I love the mix of chocolate and orange, and throwing cardamom into the mix, well, that could only be a good thing.
The recipe is as follows, but if I was going to make this again I would definitely mess around with it a bit to improve the texture, probably by reducing the amount of flour and buttermilk, maybe using some milk chocolate in the ganache and perhaps increasing the cardamom. The recipe will work though, should you want a really dense orange cake with a hint of spice and a rich chocolate topping. Sounds dreadful, doesn’t it…?
- 250g butter at room temperature
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- rind of one orange, finely grated
- 1 tsp cardamom pods, ground finely
- 250g buttermilk
- 250g flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the ganache:
- 150ml single cream
- 250g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Alright, so a pretty standard cake method, with a riff on alternating ingredients towards the end. I’m not really sure what this alternating does, though I’ve seen and followed it in many recipes. I’ve just been blindly obeying, like a sheep. A sheep who can bake. Baa.
- Grease and flour a nine-inch cake tin, and heat the oven to 170C.
- Use a hand held mixer to soften the butter, then cream it together with the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the orange rind. Stop every now and again to scrape down the sides of the bowl, to make sure everything gets mixed fully.
- Mix together the ground cardamom, flour and baking powder and sift. I did not sift the flour, which may have contributed to the denseness of the cake. It may not have, I don’t usually bother. Sift it if you like, how about that?
- Add half of the flour mix and fold in, then go back to the mixer and beat in half of the buttermilk. Repeat.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for one hour. Baking longer and not opening the oven door towards the end may also have helped with the texture, but it did seem to be baked through and a skewer came out clean from the middle, so that probably isn’t the answer.
- Cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a rack.
- While you’re waiting, make the ganache, which is joyfully simple. Put the chocolate and cream in a pot over a medium low heat, and melt, stirring gently. When it’s all melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool, then spread over the cooled cake (you’ll have some left over, unless you eat it all off the spoon).
- To spread the ganache, I heaped a large amount on to the centre of the cake. Then I used the back of a spoon in a circular motion to push the chocolate towards the edges, and finally over the edge to run down and coat all sides. I had to add some extra for full coverage; I put small spoonfuls above any bare patches and pushed over, allowing the ganache to make its own way where possible. This left me with the lovely natural waves and swirls that you can just about see in the photos.
I let the cake cool overnight, then iced on some writing with my new glitter icing. The practise on my mum’s birthday cake helped me to get it right this time, or perhaps the white one was just less runny – either way, it came out legible and didn’t require any surgery with a cocktail stick. It wasn’t till we sliced it that I could see the texture; I was disappointed, but it wasn’t offputtingly dense, which I judge by the fact that three quarters of the cake (a large slice of which was mine) disappeared within minutes. Looking at these pictures is now manking me wish I had a slice in front of me, which can’t be a bad sign in itself. It does look a bit snooty in that bottom right picture – cake that turns its nose up at *you*, how do you like that, dieters?