“I gut fruit with my mouth
push tongue into black belly of papaya
peel lychee with teeth
bite into ripe pear
suck on stone of mango
all of this, over the kitchen sink
middle of winter…”
From ‘at the thought of you’ by Warsan Shire
I love this poem – it is so visceral, almost tactile. There is something about the imagery that is raw and ripe – you can almost taste the mango juice. It is also delightfully sensuous and subtle. Of course, it is also a most fitting poem for a foodie blog!
Not long ago we found a stall at the market that sells big bags of oranges – $3 for a dozen. Not too sweet, juicy, delicious. I remember craving fresh fruit when I was pregnant with W, and it is back this time around. At the moment, it is all about the oranges. W has been chowing down on them during the day but every night, after dinner, I’ve been eating a quartered orange along with two pieces of 90% dark chocolate. Oh. So. Good.
This cake is pretty much a riff on the tried-and-tested orange/chocolate combination, one of those perfect flavour combinations. I didn’t want to fuck with the flavours too much, but the addition of ground almonds gives the cake a bit of heft and a nutty edge, and the olive oil keeps it light. This isn’t an overly sweet cake – it’s earthier than that. The kind of cake you eat while watching the morning rain from the shelter of the verandah; the kind you wrap up in wax paper to put into your lover’s lunchbox.
Almond, Orange & Olive Oil Cake
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup brown sugar
1tsp almond essence
1 cup plain yoghurt
½ cup olive oil
Rind of 1 orange
100gm dark chocolate
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 180°c/350°c. Prepare a loaf tin by greasing it with butter (or oil) and dusting with flour.
In a medium-sized bowl sift together the flour, ground almonds, and baking powder.
Finely grate the orange rind and roughly shop the dark chocolate. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs together with the sugar. Add the almond essence, olive oil, yoghurt, and the grated orange rind and stir completely through. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined (take care not to over-mix). Add the chopped chocolate and mix through.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for approx. 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave in the pan until cool enough to handle then turn out onto a cooling rack.
Prepare the syrup by combining the juice and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook slowly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to thicken. Add the flaked almonds and stir to coat. Brush the syrup over the cooled cake and leave to soak in.
This cake is delicious fresh, and will also keep, covered at room temperature, for three – four days.
Notes: you can use store-bought almond meal, but I prefer to make my own – it is super easy! I follow David Lebovitz’s Almond Flour FAQ’s to make no-fail ground almonds.