These little cakes are fun, refreshing and very easy to make. I hardly ever use blood oranges as they aren't available in my local supermarkets but I managed to pick up some fresh Moro ones from the market last weekend. Blood oranges have a beautiful red-blushed orange skin and have a distinctively tart, berry-like flavour. This type of blood orange is in season from January till about April/May and is also delicious segmented and tossed in salads for a citrus zing.
Ingredients: (makes 12 small cakes)
140g caster sugar
2 large eggs
130g self-raising flour
20g ground almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp five spice powder
Zest of 1 blood orange
5 tbsp buttermilk
3 small blood oranges
50g dark brown soft sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 fan).
Cream together the butter and caster sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric whisk. Then gradually add in the eggs, continuing to whisk on a medium speed. Once both the eggs are fully incorporated, fold in the flour, ground almonds, orange zest and spices with a large metal spoon. Be careful not to bash all of the air out of the mixture when adding the dry ingredients. Then carefully stir in the buttermilk so that you have a light cake mixture.
Melt the remaining 50g of butter and the dark soft brown sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved and then simmer the mixture for a few minutes until it begins to thicken. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin very well with soft butter and then add a small spoonful of the sugar mixture to each mould.
Remove the peel, seeds and white pith from the oranges with a sharp knife and then cut them into fairly thick slices. Arrange one slice on top of the sugar mixture in each mould and then top with a heaped spoonful of the cake batter.
Bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes until risen, springy and golden brown.
Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Then with a sharp knife or palette knife, run it around the edge of the cakes to loosen them from the moulds. Then tip each one out onto a plate. You should have beautifully soft and spongy cakes with a slice of caramelised orange on top.
I think they are best served still warm with a dash of double cream.
PS: I'm trying to explore Scotland a little more! I've never really been anywhere apart from Edinburgh and St Andrews and so have made it my mission to get out and see some more of the beautiful coastal villages and landscape that Scotland has to offer. One day I'd love to take the trek up to the Isle of Skye but for last weekend, a little trip to the beautiful North Berwick beach was enough. It's a gorgeous natural beach with traditional seaside houses with ladders leading from their back doors straight onto the sand! We were blessed with some glorious Scottish sunshine (finally!) and had an afternoon strolling along the sand and eating fish and chips- perfect.