Friday, 9 January 2015

Orange and Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Dark/White Chocolate Ganache

This is my Christmas special, innovated out of a desperate need to use an entire tray of oranges before they went squishy. The cake is dense,the ganache thin, rich and sticky, and because I detest fruit cakes, there are no raisins or plum or other suchlike disgusting things in the batter. In other words, for a middle-class home, this is a cheap and delicious cake to make: moist, soft, and richly flavoured without being in-you-face.

First, you peel two medium-sized oranges, take off the white fibrous strands within, de-pip the orange, and poach in water with 5 tsp. sugar and 3 tsp. fennel seeds.


Then, when the sugar-water has turned into a reduced, sticky syrup perfumed with citrus and fennel, and the orange is well-poached, take a whisk to it and make a pulp out of the whole thing. Let it cool.

While it cools, melt about a cup of dark cooking chocolate. Most people do it in an improvised double-boiler. I do it by adding a little water to a saucepan, waiting for it to boil, and adding small chunks of the chocolate into it. Once the chocolate is a thick liquid, let it cool.


If the orange is now cool, break two whole eggs into it. Whisk till well-combined. Pour in a cup's worth of sunflower oil.


Combine again. Now gently add the cooled (but not solidified) chocolate. Whisk till it's one thick pulpy brown mix.


Add a cup of flour, 1.5 tsp of baking powder, and if you want, a few drops of vanilla extract/essence. Bake in a preheated oven for about an hour, though check at 45 minutes to see how far the cake's done. I bake my cakes on the middle rack of a small, ancient, table-top oven at 130C, with both bottom and top heaters firing. The time might be different for your oven.


Once the cake is done (a spoon/fork/knife comes out clean), let it cool for some time. In the meanwhile, prep the dark chocolate ganache by heating the same chocolate in a little water, adding a dollop of fresh/heavy cream and orange zest. Blend over a low flame for about a minute or two. Now either you pour the ganache over the whole cake, like so:


Or, slice your cake into two; pour the ganache on top of both slices; put one slice back on the other. The perfect citrusy dark chocolate holiday cake is ready to stuff in faces!

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