I had company coming for supper on Sunday. Nothing fancy. I love the slow relaxed gathering around the table for Sunday Suppers. I made a lovely Stillwater Farm roast chicken, collard greens and a warm potato salad.  But the best part of our Sunday Supper this week was this Almond Cake with Caramelized Blood Orange Topping. Pretty, huh?

bloodOrange-almondCake-4185-2015

This recipe idea began when I shopped last week at our local market and asked the man in produce if they had any blood oranges.  He got so excited, and said he just got them in and was so glad I asked!  Well, now, didn’t I feel seasonal!

blood oranges are so pretty inside!

I peeled and sliced them as soon as I goth home, and when I put those blood orange slices in the caramelized sugar, I had to start taking pictures!

Caramelized blood oranges

It’s the height of the citrus season for me.  I depend on the thick skinned, brightly colored edibles for many reasons… a winter color fix, vitamin C, fresh fruit goodness, acidity when we are eating braised foods and heavier dishes, salad toppings, and more! Carrying this seasonality into a dessert is such a nice way to put an exclamation point on that!

blood orange syrup

This almond cake is adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook.  You can’t go wrong with that, right?  It is an almond paste base, with a tendency to be a little dense (if you’re not Thomas Keller).

To insure this cake comes out light and tender, remember the following:

-cream the almond paste with caster sugar (if you can find it – it is fine grained and much lighter that granulated sugar),

-the butter needs to be chilled when added to the almond paste sugar mixture,  and

-make sure your eggs are room temperature when added to the mixture.

almond cake mixing bowl.

We have this great new southern regional nectarine infused whiskey, and so I added that as the flavoring for the almond cake to introduce the citrus to the cake batter.  You could use grand marnier, too.

adding nectarine whiskey to the cake

Just one layer to this cake. It’s pretty rich.

almond cake

When cooled from the oven, I sliced the cake through the middle, adding the compote to the middle and the slices of caramelized blood orange to the top. This cake doesn’t need an icing.

bloodOrange-almondCake-4181-2015

A dusting of the top of the cake really set the color and shape of the blood orange slices. This is a delicious seasonal dessert utilizing blood oranges. I hope you enjoy trying it! Simple but kinda fancy. Bon Apetit!

blood orange almond cake

Almond Cake with Caramelized Blood Orange Topping
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 7 oz Almond Paste
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoon Honey
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 2 tablespoon Liquor
  • ⅓ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
Caramelized Blood Orange
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 tablespoon Water
  • 3 Blood Oranges
To Assemble and Serve
  • Confectioners Sugar
Instructions
cake
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8 inch springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper, the butter and flour the bottom and sides.

    Cream the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until light and combined. Add the butter cubes and mix on medium high until light colored and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. 2. Add the honey to this mixture, combine, and then add the eggs, one at a time. Mix on medium low speed after each egg to incorporate the eggs without breaking them.
  3. 3. Add the whiskey, flour and kosher salt, and mic just until all is blended. At this point you do not want to deflate the eggs.
  4. 4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven until just brown on top and springs back when touched. This should be about 23 - 25 minutes.
  5. 5. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes, the remove the sides of the springform pan to prevent further cooking after the cake comes from the oven.
  6. 6. When cake is fully cooled, using a long serrated bread knife, cut the layer in half horizontally to prepare the cake for the compote filling.
Caramelized Blood Orange
  1. 1. To make the caramelized blood oranges for the cake filling and topping, place the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan on the stove over medium heat.
  2. 2. Stir sugar and water until it becomes bubbly and just starts to turn amber in color. Remove from the heat.
  3. 3. Add the orange slices to the caramelized sugar sauce and return to the heat to simmer for about 3-4 minutes. The orange slices will release additional liquid into the caramel sauce. This is ok.
  4. 4. Carefully remove the orange slices with a spatula onto a platter, trying to maintain the integrity of the slices. Return the syrup to the stovetop and allow to reduce and thicken a bit. After it has thickened (it will have taken on a beautiful red color) pour the syrup over the orange slices and allow to sit until you are ready to assemble the cake.
To Assemble and Serve
  1. Place half the blood orange slices on the bottom half the almond cake layer. If some of the slices have broken apart, just go ahead and mash them into a compote. Spoon some of the syrup onto this layer.
  2. Place the top half onto the cake and arrange the remaining caramelized blood orange slices on top.
  3. Dust the cake with confectioners sugar. Pour remaining syrup onto the plates as you serve them, or you can pour it around the base of your cake on the cake plate. The syrup makes a beautiful accent and sauce for the cake as it is served.
Notes
I always say the sign of a good cook is someone who knows a good recipe when they see one.  Thank you to Smitten Kitchen and Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery Cookbook for the recipe adaptation of the Almond Cake.  It turned out perfectly.

 

%d bloggers like this: