For the cake batter
- 250g unsalted butter
- 250g caster sugar
- Zest of 1 blood orange
- 125g ground almonds
- 125g ground pistachios
- 4 eggs
- 250g self-raising flour
- A pinch of table salt
For the topping
- 120g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 3-4 blood oranges
Silicone moulds work well here.
While these are perfectly delicious made with regular oranges, this particular combination really comes into its own in late January with the musky, more grown- up flavour of blood oranges. These look sensational as well, as everything made with blood oranges does.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/ gas mark 5 and lightly spray or butter ten large muffin tins. Mix the sugar and cornflour for the topping together and spoon a teaspoonful into each muffin tin. Shake the tins a little so you have a sugared layer on the base of each one.
Use a sharp knife (I think serrated is best for this job) to cut away the skin from the oranges for the topping, then cut the flesh into slices about as wide as your finger – you should get 3–4 full slices from each orange (eat the end bits). Place a slice of orange flat in the base of each tin.
I use an electric mixer to make the batter, but if you don’t have one, you can make it by hand. Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest until paler and a little aerated.
Add the ground almonds and pistachios and mix until it all comes together and starts to stick to the side of the bowl.
Add the eggs one at a time mixing well to combine each one before adding the next.
Once you have a smooth paste, scrape it down the sides of the bowl all the way to the bottom, then add the flour and salt in one go. Mix again at a high speed until you have a nice, smooth, well-combined batter.
I usually transfer it to a piping bag at this stage but you can also use two spoons to scoop the batter instead. Divide it between the tins. You can weigh them if you want
to be specific; there should be about 80g in each.
Place the tins on a baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes, then turn them around for an even bake and leave for a further 10–15 minutes until the cakes are set. You can check this by pressing lightly with your finger. The cakes should have a slight bounce and your finger shouldn’t sink at all.
Remove from the oven and flip the moulds onto a tray lined with baking parchment. Allow to cool slightly upside-down (5–10 minutes will do) before you remove the cakes from the tins. Don’t let them get too cold or it will be really hard to keep the orange slices intact (the cornflour thickens with the orange juice and sticks the slice to the tin when cold).
These are best eaten straight away, as they are delicious warm. They also keep well in the fridge for a few days, but for best results let them come up to room temperature before eating.
Recipe extracted from Honey & Co: The Baking Book, published by Saltyard Books.