CHOCOLATE ORANGE & RUM CAKE

Chocolate Orange & Rum Cake.

In time for Easter, I want to present to you my lazy boy’s answer to chocolate cake. Seldom do I bake. I’m a very, very lazy baker. For as much as I love cooking, baking is something I sparsely have time for purely because of its precision. I won’t go as far as to say it’s a science because I find that insulting to scientists and the only similarity my baking has to scientific experiments is that they both have the capability to burn a building down, that’s why when I do foresee I have a moment to put aside to bake something, I try to come up with the most slothful and mind calming recipe I can muster. This, is that cake.

I was craving chocolate orange. This is where it started. I very rarely crave chocolate and my face is usually found in a bag of crisps or in a piece of bread, but on this one rare occasion I was craving the tangy sweetness of a chocolate orange. It also happened to fall where I had some scheduled visitors (that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) popping into the apartment sporadically across the weekend so felt that having some kind of baked good on my countertop would provide the illusion of life order and calm environments. I have neither of those things, so suffice to say a cake was what I needed.

I researched a few chocolate cakes and decided on cramming together so many of the recipes until I created one that tickled my craving but tolerated my laziness. All I wanted was something that could be done in one pan with all the ingredients added more or less at the same time so I wouldn’t have to worry about going back and forth. I mean the cake is really that simple. I also wanted to cut down any stirring I needed to do so I decided to throw everything into a food processor as opposed to a mixer – to really tend to my sloth ways.

The tropical layer that the rum adds to the orange provides such a flavour vehicle for the coca that you feel as though you are eating a chocolate orange for grownups. I used ground almonds in place of flour so you still have the springy texture of a cake but it’s still wobbly and gooey so that you could easily have it warm with a slathering of cream. It’s so silky and moist that it’s almost like a spongy brownie.

The cake really is a triumph. I am not going to pat myself on the back too much as it didn’t require much work to earn it, but I think to date it has become one of my most requested recipes. I put some slices in takeaway containers without much thought and had a few friends email me in work asking for the recipe – which is always such a compliment. So here I present it to you.

1

The night before you bake the cake, drop an orange into a big pan of water. Bring the water to a boil, drop it to a simmer and leave it crack on for two hours before carefully removing it from the water and allowing it to cool overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 20cm spring form tin. I am garbage at lining a tin so I just tip the pan upside down, pencil a line around it and cut it out. Rub a bit of butter all around the pan and stick the paper disk at the bottom.

Cut the orange in half (remove any pips) and sling it into a food processor and blitz it to a pulp. Now add 6 eggs, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of bicarb of sofa, 200g of ground almonds, a small pinch of salt, 50g of good coco and 250g caster sugar. Press the button and blitz it. Now add half a tablespoon of vanilla extract and a shot glass of rum (you can use rum flavouring if you want – it’s cheaper than buying a bottle of rum but I shamelessly had some white rum to hand). Now, grab another orange and grate a little bit of the zest. Press the button.

Your food processor will start to look a little full here but don’t be alarmed, it’ll be fine. Continue blitzing the batter until you have a dark, thick, brown batter but don’t look for complete smoothness. Complete smoothness means you’ve pulped the orange down to liquid and that may make the batter slightly runny when it bakes so you want a thick, grainy texture but still runny enough to pour. Pour the mixture into the lined and greased tin and bake for about 45 minutes. After this time, put a skewer in the centre (I used a chopstick because I couldn’t find a skewer) and if it comes out clean, it’s done. If it still has a little cake residue on it, pop it back in for 5 or 10 minutes.

That is literally it. All in a blender, buttons pressed and it’s done. I mean, yes I showed off a little bit with the orange peel but that’s because I genuinely did have time to kill but you can’t eat them so they are really not essential to the cake.. Although I do recommend you warm up this cake and eat some with cream or vanilla ice cream – it will fast become your favourite cake, I promise.

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Also, just a tip I have to a friend who accidentally overcooked his. After 30 minutes of baking, if you feel it may go black around the edges, cover it in foil for the remainder. However, if you burn it ever so slightly, don’t worry – just dust some icing sugar over it and I promise no one will know. But essentially what you will have here is a casually made Chocolate Orange & Rum Cake to have adorning your windowsill as if it’s nothing, so that any callers can snatch a slice as they pass through.

That still sounds dirty, doesn’t it?

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