BITTER ORANGE AND FENNEL SEED CAKE
This cake is actually so wonderful and easy, it's a little ridiculous! The level of bitterness does depend on the oranges you use! I used navel for this cake, which bring a subtle bitter undertone, nothing too offensive! You can experiment with different citrus, such as blood oranges, sevilles or even one lemon and one orange! I love that you use the whole orange without having to boil them for hours on the stove – a perfect cake if you're short on time!
Serve the cake as it is, simply dusted with icing sugar, or as I have done, with a simple frosting and candied fennel seeds, which pairs beautifully with citrus.
MAKES 1 20cm CAKE
2 oranges (approximately 300g in total)
300g caster sugar
250ml extra virgin olive oil or a neutral vegetable oil
250g self raising flour
250g creme fraiche
50g icing sugar
CANDIED FENNEL SEEDS
1tbsp each of icing sugar and fennel seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
2. Top and tail the oranges, quarter them and remove any seeds. Blitz in a food processor, skin and all, until you have a puree. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar with the eggs until pale and thick. Add in the olive oil and pureed oranges and whisk until combined. Sift over the flour and gently whisk until you have a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer is clean when tested. Allow to cool slightly before removing from tin.
4. Meanwhile, make the frosting simply by whisking the creme fraiche and icing sugar together until thick. This can be done in an electric mixture, but be sure you don't over beat it! Set aside until the cake is cool and ready to ice.
5. For the candied fennel seeds, combine the fennel seeds and icing sugar in a small bowl and toss to coat. Tip mixture into a small pan, and over a low to medium heat, continuously stir the fennel seeds until the icing sugar melts and turns a deep amber colour. Take off the heat and spoon the fennel seeds onto baking paper to cool.
6. Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake and sprinkle over the fennel seeds. Serve at room temperature.