Here’s another delicious sweet treat from Henrietta Inman’s fabulous new tome, The Natural Baker (Murdoch Books). Ideal for dessert or afternoon tea!

The combination of the buckwheat flour and coconut sugar here creates an incredibly nutty, caramel-like, deep richness. The sponge, saturated with a sweet Grand Marnier-spiked marmalade syrup and made with olive oil that keeps it soft and light, is surrounded by finely sliced circles of orange. These become soft and sweet in the oven, while the rinds of the outermost circles get a little burnt and crunchy. The merging of the bittersweet flavours and gorgeous textures is quite divine. It’s also very pretty, with the oranges forming a petal pattern around the edge of the cake. I love to serve this warm from the oven, with crème fraîche.

Serves 10 – 12

Ingredients

180g (6oz / ¾ cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the tin (pan)

120g (4¼oz / ⅓ cup) honey

200g (7oz / generous ¾ cup) orange juice

about 3 oranges, 550g (1lb 4oz) total weight, plus the finely grated zest of
1 more orange

120g (4¼oz / generous ½ cup) coconut sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

90g (3¼oz / scant 1 cup) ground almonds

90g (3¼oz / ⅔ cup) buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

150g (5½oz / ½ cup) marmalade

3 tbsp Grand Marnier, or hazelnut liqueur, or other orange, hazelnut or almond liqueur

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Oil a 23cm (9in) loose-bottomed cake tin (pan), then line it with baking parchment, allowing the parchment to slightly come up the edges of the tin (pan), so the juices don’t leak when baking.

In a saucepan, bring the honey and orange juice to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 3 minutes to reduce. Turn off the heat. Cut the 550g (1lb 4oz) oranges into thin, 2–3mm (⅛in) slices, discarding the ends, and add to the syrup. Return to a medium boil for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Once cooled a little, arrange the orange slices in the prepared tin (pan), starting from the edges, overlapping the oranges in a circle, then working into the centre of the tin (pan). Once the bottom is covered, start to arrange the slices (again, overlapping them), up the sides of the tin (pan). Cover with 150g (5½oz / ½ cup) of the honey and orange juice mix, leaving the rest in the pan.

In a bowl, whisk the oil with the orange zest, sugar, eggs, ground almonds, flour and baking powder. Pour over the orange slices and syrup and bake for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the top is dark golden brown, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, add the marmalade to the remaining honey and orange juice in the saucepan, trying to get about equal quantities of the more jammy parts and rindy parts of the marmalade out of the jar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the liqueur, then turn off the heat.

When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven, pierce it all over with a skewer, then pour over the marmalade syrup. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes, then remove from the tin (pan) (the orange slices should be lining the bottom and sides) and serve warm, with crème fraîche.

Store in the fridge for five days, or freeze for at least one month.

Variation: When they are in season (in late winter), I like to use 2 small blood oranges and 2 Jaffa oranges for the orange slices here.

 

The Natural Baker by Henrietta Inman (Murdoch Books RRP $39.99) Photography by Philippa Langley

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