Monday, 23 January 2012

meat-free monday: Skye Gyngell's Orange, Vanilla and Rosewater Cake

It's my most favorite cake from one of my most special places on this muddy island: Petersham Nursery in South West London - and let me tell you, I know cake!

It's wheat-free, which is fab obviously, but it's more than that - it manages to be slightly moist, yet the nutty texture of the almonds comes through it's sweet, but in a citrus-y way, not a too sweet chocolately kind of way. 

It's perfect for celebrations - like a friend's birthday, today.  But for me, this cake invokes memories of days that were punctuated with friends, cappuccinos, laughs, inspiration, crazy ideas and dreams. And today it also accompanies memories, plans gone awry and offers solace. Each bite is a lesson in mindfulness and gratefulness, as well as deliciousness.
Did you know a cake could do so much?

Serves 8
2 oranges, whole
300g/10oz caster sugar
6 whole eggs
300g/10oz whole blanched almonds, warmed through and finely chopped
11/2 tbsp rosewater
1 vanilla pod, sliced in half lengthwise

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Put the oranges in a pan, cover with water and boil until really soft (about an hour, depending on the size of the oranges). Remove from the water, allow to cool to room temperature, slice in half and remove any pips. Chop into little pieces, put in a food processor with the sugar, eggs and almonds, and purée until smooth (or combine by hand with a metal spoon). Pour into a bowl and stir in the rose water. Using a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod, add to the mix and gently stir. Line a 10-inch cake tin with parchment paper, then pour in the mix.
Place on the middle shelf of your heated oven and cook for 11/2 hours. The cake will be cooked when a skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and allow to cool. My favourite way of eating this lovely delicate-flavoured cake is with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt.

recipe & image from the Independent, via a very long and arduous Google search since I was determined nothing else would do for today's Meat-free Monday, on this most bittersweet of days.



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