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Dessert: Orange and Cardamom Cake by The Hidden Hut



3 whole oranges (ideally blood oranges, if available)

375g ground almonds

375g caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

9 large eggs

Crème fraîche, to serve (optional)

For the syrup

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of ½ lemon

50g granulated sugar

Seeds from 4 cardamom pods

To decorate

1 orange (ideally blood orange), peeled, pips removed, sliced into 5mm-thick discs

1 handful of pistachio nuts


Put the oranges in a saucepan over a medium heat and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook gently for 2½ hours.

Remove the oranges, then cut them in half and remove any pips. Put into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) gas mark 4 and line a 25.5cm round cake tin with baking parchment. Weigh out 550g of the orange purée and put it in a large mixing bowl. Mix the orange purée with the almonds, sugar and baking powder using an electric beater.

While still mixing, add the eggs, one at a time, until you have a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, put the orange and lemon juice in a saucepan and add the sugar and the cardamom seeds. Cook over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar, and then increase the heat to high. Cook for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Leave the cake in the tin and put on a wire rack, then arrange the orange slices over the top. Pour over the syrup and leave the cake in the tin to cool.

Put the nuts between two sheets of baking parchment and use a rolling pin to crush them roughly. When the cake is cool, turn it out of the tin and sprinkle with the crushed pistachio nuts.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, if you like.

Extracted from The Hidden Hut by Simon Stallard (HarperCollins, £20)


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