04 April, 2012

Chocolate-Orange Cake

If I'm honest, this weekend baking thing hasn't panned out quite as I'd planned. As I work shifts, I don't alwys get a weekend off; my days off can fall on any two days of the week, and may not necessarily be together. This is no biggie as I like to have my days off when everyone else is out working - its so peaceful to go shopping mid-week rather than battle through the queues on the weekend! For weekend baking it can sometimes be problematic, and if it's been a busy Saturday I don't always feel like coming home to bake, let alone to make us dinner aswell. That's not to say I haven't whipped up a batch of cookies or baked a cake when I've come home from work, because sometimes I just get the urge, y'know? Baking can be very theraputic, especially if you know you're going to get a delicious treat afterwards! But on some days I just need to do nothing and re-charge my batteries.

Anyhoo, I saw this recipe in Nigella's 'How To Be A Domestic Goddess' ages ago, and the combination of orange and chocolate in a cake  seemed too good ignore, it became one of those recipes that I filed away as 'ooh-I-must-try-that-one-day' cakes. So, flicking through the book for ideas I knew it needed to be made. There's something quite appealing about a recipe that calls for ingredients that you should already have in your store-cupboard. This Store-Cupboard Chocolate-Orange Cake, as it is correctly known, did just that.

Ok. My first obstacle was the discovery that my store cupboard was somewhat lacking in the essential ingredients needed for the cake. Foolish gir! So, after a quick dash to the shops to pick up a bar of dark chocolate and a jar of marmalade I couldn't wait to get started. (I acidentally bought two jars of marmalade. So what if I got distraced by the different varieties of marmalade and forgot that I'd already put a jar into my basket? The real mystery is how I didn't realise this until I got home)

Once out of the oven and cooled a bit, I couldn't help but think the cake looked a little dry. A spoonful of marmalade mixed up with some water to make a syrup was poured over the top, but not before I skewered holes in to the cake first. The cake turned out to be very dense with a glisteningly sticky top. It wasn't overly chocolately but the sweetness of marmalade was almost too sickly sweet, to the extent that I was the sole-eater of cake in a two-person house. Not a problem as I do love cake. Mae West once said: 'Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!', but boy, was I glad when it was all gone.

I wouldn't rush to make this particular cake again, but if I did I would perhaps use a darker marmalade than the one (or ones) I bought. When I was a little girl I remember a very dark, thick-cut marmalade we used to love spread on thickly-sliced white bread, with a generous layer of salted butter underneath. I think this marmalade would be perfect for the cake - not too sweet, but with just the right depth of flavour.

Store-Cupboard Chocolate-Orange Cake
How To Be A Domsmestic Goddess
Nigella Lawson

125g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
300g good, thin cut marmalade
150g caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten
150g self raising flour

Preheat oven to 180°C
Butter and flour an 8" (20cm) springform tin

Slowly melt the butter over a low heat, once it's nearly melted stir in the chocolate. Take off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the marmalade, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir together until all ingedients are amalgamated then beat in the flour, bit by bit. Scrape into your prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto your rack.

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