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

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.

  • Yield:Serves 8
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:2-3 hours

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

Directions

  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.