This is a dense, sturdy cake, with a coarse almond-y tasting texture. The perfect cake to get us through the Winter. It has a slight sweetness from the Honey, but is not overly sweet, or too citrusy. Note: If you family has a sweet tooth and you tend towards liking a sweeter cake you could use 1 cup of Demerera sugar, instead of 3/4 of a cup listed below. For a more citrusy cake you could try adding a tablespoon or 2 of blood oranges to the sugar butter mixture as well as the required zest. Feel free to experiment! The blood oranges that decorate the top, need to be sliced thin. They will cook in the honey and be similar to a marmalade taste.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 2 inch high x 9 inch wide baking tin with butter. 2. In a bowl, beat (I use a hand mixer for easy clean up) 14 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (this is 2 tablespoons shy of 2 sticks.) and 3/4 of a cup of Demerera Sugar. Slowly beat in 3 room temperature eggs, one by one... note: you are not 'creaming' the butter and sugar so don't worry if once all the eggs are added, it's still looks sand-like, it's fine. Add one teaspoon of vanilla essence and a pinch of sea salt and 2 tablespoons of zest from your blood oranges. (If you used regular salted butter instead of unsalted no need to add extra salt.) 3. Squeeze about 2-3 tablespoons of runny honey over the base of the greased tin. (You could quickly microwave the honey bottle beforehand so it's easy to spread evenly. The honey will help stick your citrus slices so that when you flip it over at the end they will hold better in place.) 4. Arrange blood orange citrus slices. Try any design you like, but try not to overlap. You'll need to purchase about 4-5 Medium to Small Blood Oranges of similar size, preferably with less pith. I like to use thin slices, of about an eighth of an inch wide, that are then cut in half, so they look like half moons. Bear in mind what you lay down will be your top, once this is flipped over. Don't over think this step. Just have fun! 5. Put 7.5 oz or 200 grams of ground natural unsalted almonds in a separate clean bowl. (I put 200 grams of whole natural unsalted almonds into a food processor and pulse it, because I like the freshness that newly ground nuts have.) Add to your food processor, or bowl: quarter cup of cornbread and muffin mix or depending on what kind of consistency you like you could add dry polenta or dry yellow grits instead. (the dry yellow grits will give a much more coarser nutty granular texture even when cooked) and a quarter cup of All Purpose flour. Combine. 6. Tip dry-nut mixture into the butter-sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Pour into the baking tin, and spread evenly pushing down to make sure the cake is pressed into the orange slices. Try not to dislodge your pattern. Put in the 325 degrees fahrenheit oven for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle, comes out clean. I have a very hot oven so my cooking time is a neat 35 minutes but you may need longer. Don't over cook. You will start to smell the almonds towards the end. 7. Remove cake from the oven and while still warm, run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the tin. Don't worry if the cake has not risen to the full 2 inches, it will be fine. Place a flat plate on top and gently flip the cake in one motion. Arrange sliced that may have moved. 8. At this stage you can glaze the cake if you wish... I reduce about half a cup of juice from the remaining blood oranges down with some sugar till you get a thick syrup and pour gently over the top. You could also use pomegranate juice with sugar or just warm up some honey alone, whatever you wish. Or leave it free as I did in the above picture to save on calories. 9. Serve immediately while cake is still warm. My son likes his slices spread with butter. I had originally intended this cake to be served with natural yogurt. I thought the rich sourness of yogurt would compliment this sweet citrussy cake well. You can try that also.
If you post on Instagram, please tag me #dimityjones so I can see how it turned out and let me know how it worked in the comments section below! Happy Winter everyone!