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orange macaroon cake

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Orange macaroon cake

Someone I know describes cakes as ‘wet’ or ‘dry’. Wet cakes are good. Dry cakes are not so good. Wet cakes that have fruit (including, weirdly, raisins or other dried fruit) in them are not as good as plain wet cakes. Dry cakes that are ‘squidgy’ – and that perversely includes, imagine, hot cross buns for instance, are better than dry cakes non-squidgy. Dry squidgy cakes that have fruit in them (ditto, hot cross buns) would be much better without the fruit.

She’s got issues. But also very definite requirements, albeit expressed in a kind of simplistic and philistine way, of what makes a good and a not so good cake. She eats quite a bit of my produce so I do heed those guidelines every now and then.

This is near-perfect – wet, no fruit, no raisins. Guess what – she asked if it could be made less orangey.

But weird demands aside, this is a glorious cake. Just the right moisture (wet), orange flavour fantastic (no, can’t be less), and slightly chewy on account of the coconut (she couldn’t even tell there was coconut involved – some people, eh? And you make all that effort to educate them).

Recipe courtesy of Dan Lepard, as usual excellent in his ‘Short and Sweet’ book.

orange macaroon cake


INGREDIENTS

  • finely grated zest of two large oranges
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 60ml orange juice or orange liqueur, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • For the topping and filling:
  • finely  grated zest of one large orange
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 2tbsp orange juice
Oranges


METHOD

Butter and line with parchment a round tin 20cm in diameter. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

Sift the flour with the baking powder. Beat the butter with the zest and sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer or with a hand held mixer on high speed, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one – it will curdle which won’t affect the cake when it’s baked, but if you don’t like the look of it, add a tablespoon or two of the prepared flour.

Beat in the coconut, then half the sifted flour and the orange juice or liqueur, then sift in the rest of the flour and fold in thoroughly. Pour into the tin and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides.

Orange cake before baking

Leave it on a wire rack to cool.

When cold, slice it horizontally in half with a very sharp knife or a cake slicing wire (genius implement).

Topping the orange cake with icing

Prepare the topping: beat the icing sugar with the zest and juice to a spreadable consistency, spread half on the bottom part of the cake, cover with the top half and frost the top with the remaining icing.

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