Orange & Almond Tray Bake From \

[Photograph: Jenny Zarins ]

A "tray bake" sounds like a peculiar thing, but it merely references a sweet dish baked in a rectangular container, cut into pieces—we're talking everything from brownies to fruit bars to sheet cakes. This iteration from The Ginger & White Cookbook may look to be a standard orange sponge, but that's far from the case: Ground almonds and egg form the base of the cake, with a flavorful orange purée folded into the mix. The entire thing is drenched in orange flower water syrup and garnished with candied orange slices. Sensing a theme? The hit of citrus is powerful, but it's tempered by the almonds and raspberries.

Why this recipe works:

  • Boiling whole, unpeeled oranges is an unorthodox step, but a clever one that allows you to blitz the entire fruit, skin and all, and add it to the cake.
  • There is no flour in the cake, only ground almonds, which adds a denseness and depth of flavor that melds very well with citrus.

Tips: Removing the seeds from squishy, boiled oranges is not a pleasant task. It becomes much easier if you place the quarters into a mesh strainer set over a bowl. Press with a spoon to remove the seeds. Any juice that escapes is saved; just scrape the seeds into the trash, add the fruit to the bowl, and pour it all into the food processor.

Tweaks: Only two drops of orange flower water are called for to make the syrup that's poured over the cake. Leaving them out is not a mortal sin, but you lose the floral notes it adds to the syrup. You'll find orange flower water where fruit extracts are sold: if you can't find it in your local supermarket's baking aisle, try a spice shop or a well-stocked liquor store (it's sometimes used in cocktails).

Excerpted from The Ginger & White Cookbook by Tonia George, Emma Scott & Nicholas Scott (Mitchell Beazley). Copyright (c)2014 . Photographs by Jenny Zarins.

Orange & Almond Tray Bake From "The Ginger & White Cookbook"

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About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 8
Active time:45 minutes
Total time:2-3 hours
This recipe appears in: Orange and Almond Tray Bake From 'The Ginger & White Cookbook'

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges
  • Softened butter, for greasing
  • 6 free-range eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • For the Syrup & Decoration
  • 4/5 cup superfine sugar
  • 4/5 cup water
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 2 drops of orange flower water
  • 8 raspberries

Procedures

  1. 1

    Place the oranges in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. (They will bob around on the surface, so don’t worry that they are not submerged.) Simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, until very soft and squashy. Drain the fruit and set aside to cool.

  2. 2

    Preheat the oven to 360ºF. Grease the sides of a 12x16-in. baking pan and line the base with nonstick parchment paper.

  3. 3

    Cut the oranges into quarters and remove any seeds. 
Blitz the quarters, skin and all, in a blender or food processor until you have a smooth puree.

  4. 4

    Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then beat in the sugar, ground almonds, and baking powder. Fold in the 
orange puree, then pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. 5

    Meanwhile, make the syrup and decoration. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat until 
the sugar has dissolved: do not stir. Add the orange slices and simmer for 10 minutes, until soft. Remove the slices from the syrup with a slotted spoon and dry on nonstick parchment paper. Add the orange flower water to the syrup and set aside.

  6. 6

    Allow the cake to cool in the pan, then cut into 8 squares. Drizzle with the syrup, then decorate each square with a slice of candied orange and a raspberry.

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