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.
- Yield:Serves 8
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:2-3 hours
- 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
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.
Preheat the oven to 360ºF. Grease the sides of a 12x16-in. baking pan and line the base with nonstick parchment paper.
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.
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.
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.
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.