Winter has its perks. Orange marmalade is one of them.
Every January, the UK shops stock up on Seville oranges. These Spanish beauties are the literally bitter reminders of a sunnier place. Bright orange and delicious-looking, Sevilles are unpalatable on their own, but with the addition of plenty of sugar and the application of a bit of heat, the oranges become a sticky, gooey, bitter-sweet marmalade.
Our neighbour Frank brings me empty jars at various times throughout the year, and in January he gets some back filled with marmalade. I also give some marmalade to The Author’s parents; apparently the fine cutting that I prefer is preferred by them as well. I’ve sent marmalade to friends and family, and I’ve even taken a jar by plane on a visit to friends in the States.
You would think that with all this giving away of marmalade, I wouldn’t have enough left for us. You would be wrong. There are three people in this house who resolutely refuse to eat marmalade – apparently the bitterness that I find so refreshing is repulsive to young palates. The result is that we still have plenty of jars left from last year, not to mention a few more from the year before that. Luckily, it keeps well. But I have had to accept that making Seville Orange Marmalade this year would be excessive.
Instead, I have to think of ways to use it up. And this cake presented the perfect opportunity. The original recipe called for boiling an orange for half an hour or so, and then letting it cool before proceeding. “Hey, wait a minute!” I thought. “I’ve already done those steps (about a year ago).” So I cracked open a jar and didn’t look back.
Almond Orange Marmalade Cake
adapted from Norma MacMillan’s recipe on allrecipes
makes one single layer 23 cm cake
Besides swapping out the boiled orange for marmalade, I added a bit of salt for balance and a bit of vanilla for a little exotic depth. I also used granulated sugar instead of caster sugar. This cake has no flour and no butter – in fact, there is no oil of any kind – but it is moist and rich. The egg-y sponge requires a delicate touch in the oven so that it rises and doesn’t fall. Having said that, it will taste delicious no matter how it looks. My oven is not what you would call delicate; there are no longer any temperatures indicated on the control panel, and even when I use a thermometer to check the oven heat, there is no guarantee that the temperature will stay steady. Still, I have managed to make perfectly good-tasting cakes. Some of them, like the one pictured here, will not win any beauty contest, but I think they might take the prize for best personality.
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 200g (1 cup) sugar
- 225g (1 2/3 cup) ground almonds
- 200g (7 oz.) orange marmalade
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- small handful of flaked almonds
- icing sugar (for dusting)
Prepare a 23cm springform pan by greasing it and lining the bottom with parchment. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F).
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and half of the sugar. When the mixture is pale and thick, whisk in the ground almonds and the marmalade.
In a stand mixer (or another bowl), whisk together the egg whites and the salt. When the whites become firm, slowly add the remaining sugar and the vanilla, whisking all the while, and continue beating until the egg whites are firm and glossy.
Stir about 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the almond mixture to loosen it, then gently and thoroughly fold in the rest of the egg whites. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and very lightly even out the top – don’t be too particular, you just want to get the major peaks and troughs more uniform. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top, and bake for about 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven when the centre feels the same firmness as the outer edges and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 – 20 minutes in the pan, then take off the springform side (you may need to first run a thin knife around the inside of the pan to free any cake that has stuck).
When you are ready to serve the cake, dust it with icing sugar.