Saturday, November 29, 2008

Chocolate Orange Cake inspired by the Nigellas

Check out this recipe from Nigella Lawson – a flourless chocolate orange cake that is very simple and tastes fantastic.

It’s from her Feast cookbook although there are a couple of printing discrepancies in the recipe. Thank goodness for the internet and indignant bakers for setting it right (eg. the recipe says to cream the butter and sugar even though there is no butter in the recipe). I also mixed the batter by hand rather than in a food processor, and the recipe neglects to mention the baking powder and bicarb soda (I just threw them into the mix anyway).

Anyhoo, apart from boiling the oranges for two hours (after which the house smelt of … oranges), the rest was very easy. I love to decorate and though it is a plain looking cake to begin with, you can go overboard with cocoa powder, shaved chocolate and so on. And, of course, I just had to use my new cake stand from Wheel and Barrow…

The recipe is below, with the bugs corrected.

Chocolate Orange Cake

2 small or 1 large thin-skinned orange, approx. 375g total weight (I weighed the oranges after they had been cooked)
6 eggs
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g ground almonds (almond meal)
250g caster sugar
50g cocoa
orange peel for decoration, if wished

Put the whole orange or oranges in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until soft. Drain and, when cool, cut the oranges in half and remove any big pips. Then pulp everything – pith, peel and all – in a food processor, or see below if you're proceeding by hand.

Once the fruit is cold, or near cold, preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180C. Butter and line a 20cm springform tin.

Add the eggs, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, almonds, sugar and cocoa to the orange in the food processor. Run the motor until you have a cohesive cake mixture, but still slightly knobbly with the flecks of pureed orange.

Or you could chop the fruit finely by hand, and with a wooden spoon beat the eggs one by one into the sugar, alternating with spoons of mixed ground almond and cocoa, baking powder and bicarb soda, then the oranges.

Pour and scrape into the cake tin and bake for an hour, by which time a cake tester should come out pretty well clean. Check after 45 minutes because you may have to cover it with foil to prevent the cake from burning before it is cooked through, or indeed it may need a little less than an hour; it all depends on your oven.

Leave the cake to get cool in the tin, on a cooling rack. When the cake is cold you can take it out of the tin. Decorate with strips of orange peel or coarsely grated zest if you so wish.

Makes about 8 slices.

Recipe adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson

And appropriately (because of the Nigella reference!), this is my entry in Not Quite Nigella’s
Ultimate Chocolate Cake Challenge. Check it out!


  1. Belle, first of all gorgeous looking cake (love the ribbon) and good that you got the adjusted recipe too! I've found a few errors in Feast :(

    Secondly I adore that cake stand and cover, may I ask where it is from?

    Haha I see the Nigella cake tins peeking out in one of the pictures. I used one of the cake tins tonight!

  2. oohh good to see u again btw haha :P

  3. Yuummmm great photos ^^! Hee hee did you choose a Nigella cake for this comp to suck up as well ;)?

  4. hi Lorraine - the cake stand is from Wheel and Barrow and it's made of acrylic (great for clumsies like me!). And I just had to get the Nigella logo into a shot!

    Hi FFichiban - suck up? Moi? And it was great to see you too!

  5. Niiiice! Love how you decorated it too.. so elegant!

  6. Thanks, Y. I liked your entries very much, too.

  7. Nom nom nom! This cake looks so rich and so moist! You should consider entering it into Recipe4Living's 5th Birthday Recipe Contest! The site is turning 5 years old, and we're giving away a Scharffen Berger gift basket to the top birthday cake that's submitted!