chocolate orange cake
Even in the driver’s seat, there’s a particular part of West Swan Road that I always looks forward to. I love how it winds a little, dips into a little valley and from there the roadside ponds glimmer and the vineyards just stretch out. Occasionally sheep are let to wander between the vines to control the vegetation, rendering it unbelievably idyllic. From time to time and depending on the season, farm stands (the original pop up shop?), set up shop.
Farm stands are everywhere in the valley and while researching an article, I happened upon Swanville Citrus, not too far from where West Swan Road meets Great Northern Highway. Just after the traffic lights the trellised Tomasovich vineyards give way to the family’s eight acre orange grove and that’s where you’ll find the little orange shack. Lots of sunshine and rain means a lush orchard where the weeds are tall enough to reach up and touch the fruit. (No snakes were sighted, thank goodness). With free run of the grove the roar of the highway slowly disappeared as I went into the trees to take a few snaps, and imagine a quieter existence.
I did eventually come out. (For what else but shopping…) The farm gate had the most gorgeous lemons (everyone picked them up to see if they were plastic). Amongst the tree ripened oranges were macadamias, different types of mandarins plus bargain boxes of oranges.
Back home with a bag of oranges, I made this chocolate and orange cake. It’s a recipe from my Nigella Lawson, from the best book she has ever published, Feast. There is no butter in this cake as the moisture comes from boiled oranges. The zesty pith, flesh and all are whizzed in a food processor with almonds and a lot of eggs to make a really moist, bouncy jaffa cake that’s rather good looking and even better eating.
15 Nolan Avenue, Upper Swan
Open seasonally from end of May through to September.
Mon & Wed 12 noon – 5pm, Fri 10 am – 5pm, Sat & Sun 9am – 5pm,
Chocolate Orange Cake
From Nigella Lawson’s Feast.
The recipe was originally written for a 20cm spring form tin, but a well greased (read: grease it like its going out of fashion) bundt or ring tin works well. Just be sure to let it cool completely before turning out.
2 small oranges (375 gm total weight)
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
200 gm ground almonds
250 gm caster sugar
50 gm cocoa (preferably Dutch cocoa)
Put the whole oranges in a pan with enough cold water to cover. Boil for 2 hours until soft. You may need to weigh the oranges down with a saucer to keep them submerged. Drain and when cool, cut open the oranges and remove any pips. (Leaving pips in will make the cake bitter.)
Whizz until pulp in a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
To the food processor bowl, add everything else – the eggs, baking powder, bicarb of soda, almonds, sugar and cocoa. Process until the mixture is well combined.
Pour the cake batter into a greased tin and place carefully into oven. Depending on your oven and the tin, the cake may take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to bake (mine took 55 minutes). Check at the 45 minute mark as the cake may start to scorch, if so cover with some foil while it finishes baking.
Remove from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan. (Do not remove when warm! Almond based cakes have a terrible habit of breaking apart if rushed.)
Turn it out, sprinkle with some icing sugar and enjoy. Keeps for about five days.
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