Friday, January 25, 2013

Oranges and Lemons: St.Clement's Cake

One of the many cookbooks to join my bookshelf recently is Jamie Oliver's Great Britain. Any review I give will be biased, because of my big chef-crush on the adorable guy, but the photography is gorgeous (David Loftus, the photographer behind a wagon-load of aesthetically pleasing books), and the recipes are things you picture yourself eating in an old stone cottage, accompanied by tea and softly falling rain.

This week I made this citrus-full cake. It's a simple batter cake, and after it comes out of the oven, you stab it all over and drench it in orange syrup. I can get behind that.

A few notes - Jamie's recipe isn't gluten free, but it's so close. I substituted all-purpose gluten free flour (Bob's Red Mill brand) for the all-purpose flour. The cake is so moist and flavourful, you won't notice the difference. Also, Jamie says to make it in a 8-inch springform pan, but I used a well-greased bundt pan, and the cake came out of the pan just fine. Finally, try and use organic oranges and lemons - the zest of commercial citrus is coated in wax, and full of pesticides. You don't want to zest that into your system.

Jamie's Nan's St. Clement's Cake
4 1/2 oz unsalted butter (1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp), softened
(plus more for greasing the pan)
1 cup and 2 tbsp sugar
4 large eggs
1 large orange
2 cups ground almonds
3/4 cup all purpose flour (or gluten-free all purpose flour)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 cups icing sugar
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a bundt pan, or a 8-inch springform pan, lining the bottom with parchment.

Beat the butter with 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Add the zest of the orange (keeping back a little for decorating, in a covered bowl). Fold in the almonds. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then fold into the batter, until everything is just combined. Spread into the prepared pan, and bake for 30 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup sugar and the juice of that orange you zested in a pan. Simmer, until sugar is melted. Poke the cake (still in the pan) all over with a fork. Pour over syrup, and leave cake to cool completely in pan.

While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, and add the zest and juice of one lemon (keep back a little zest for decorating). Mix until icing is smooth. Transfer the cooled cake to a serving tray, and drizzle with the lemon icing. Sprinkle with reserved citrus zest.

PS. Did you know a 'St.Clement's' is actually a lemonade-orange juice combo served in pubs in England? It's something my great-great granny probably ordered.

PPS. This cake (and the drink) are named after the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons: "oranges and lemons, sing the bells of St. Clements." The line refers to a church in London that was near to the docks, where produce would have been unloaded.

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