Tangerine Trees and Marmalade Skies

A while has passed since I had worked on some new. I was sent a bottle of Bhuira Jam as a sample. When I was asked to pick one from their list, I was spoilt for choice. After perusing the list many times over,  I could not decide between the Cherry and Three Fruit Marmalade. I have always loved marmalade. Orange, Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit, combine it with ginger or any which way, a good marmalade makes me weak at the knees. It was not always like this. There was a time, many eons ago, when I hated marmalade. I thought it was too bitter and could not understand why anyone would even want to eat it. Today, I could easily lick the spoon and the bottle clean. Now I am talking about good marmalade. A marmalade which is deep orange, chunky with peel, citrusy fresh top notes with a faint zesty bitter after taste.

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The sample jar was sitting on my counter mocking me everyday. I tried some with the croissant that I had baked and it was heavenly. I could have finished it all off but decided that I would use it to bake something really special with it. I had a vision in my mind of an orange and almond cake which I used to bake. In my mind, I added some of this delicious marmalade to it, and some zest of orange and some juice of orange. . . layer upon layer of orange deliciousness. Wiping my imaginary drool, I picked up the bottle of marmalade with renewed passion.

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I had to make a trip to my neighbourhood fruit shop to pick up some oranges. No oranges! Oh the horror! By the time I had finished with the mental wringing of my hands from the corner of my eye, I spotted tangarines. Now that works for me. Same family–close cousins! So armed with tangerines I made my way home. I juiced a few, zested one and ate a couple. I was now ready for the task at hand. So just before I actually started, there was just one I needed to decide. Yes, I was going to make a tangarine cake with marmalade, but I had these different ideas in my head as to how I wanted to finish the cake.

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I could bake it as a loaf and glaze it with chunky marmalade, or I could cover it with a dark chocolate ganache infused with just a touch of the zest and finished with a sprinkling of almonds or go really simple and give it a very thin sugar and citrus glace and a dusting of icing sugar. I simply could not decide. So what did I do?  I did what any self respecting person would do. I baked all three versions.

The base of the cake remains the same. However, the addition of each of these ingredients on top, creates a completely different flavour profile. The bundt cake is a lovely light version perfect for any time of the day. The loaf with the marmalade glaze is for those times when you want something warm and sticky to make you feel loved. And finally when you want to be indulgent and sophisticated, bring out your dark chocolate ganache. You could torte and fill your cake or simply pour it over the cake and carelessly sprinkle some almonds for the added crunch. Believe me, which ever way you decide to bake them, you will want to try the other versions as well.

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The texture is delicate and slightly crumbly with the addition of the almond flour. You definitely cannot miss the citrus hit in this cake. The flavours are built layer upon layer making this one of the best orange cakes (oh well, tangerine in this case) that you have ever eaten. I have more versions of this cake in my head but for now just these three will do. And if you have no patience to try these version, do at least try to make it plain and you will not regret it.IMG_3439

 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup almond meal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup orange marmalade

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup orange juice

 

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  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C
  2. Whisk butter and sugar until soft and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well.
  4. Add the marmalade, zest and almond extract and mix well
  5. Sieve together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the almond meal.
  6. Fold the flour into the egg/butter/sugar mixture alternately with the orange juice.
  7. Spread the batter into your prepared tins ( I used parchment papaer just to be safe. Except the bundt which was greased very well). I used a loaf for the marmalade glace, bundt for the sugar glaze and a regular round pan for the ganache version.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until done.
  9. Cool on the rack for about 10 minutes before turning it over.
  10. If you are using the marmalade glace, warm a few spoonfuls and brush over the cake while it is still warm
  11. For the sugar glace, mix a couple of spoonfuls of a mix of orange and lime juice with icing sugar till somewhat runny but still thick. Spoon over the cake and allow to crust.
  12. For the ganache, Heat 50 gms of cream with some orange zest till it barely starts to simmer. Cover and leave to infuse for about 15 minutes. Strain and re heat cream and pour over 100 gms of chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two and stir to mix. When it is completely mixed and glossy pour over the cake and top with almonds. Allow to set.
  13. Finally, like me, if you have made all three version, cut yourself a slice from each, take a bite and decide which ones you like best.

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