Sunday, 23 October 2011
Soffice torta all'arancia ( Almond and orange cake)
It seems like a very long time ago, the day we went to Torchiara to take photos of the pretty town. I had noticed, the previous evening, that most houses in the Piazza were still adorned with the Tricolore (our flag!) from the celebration of Italy's 150 years as a Nation, and the Piazza itself looked like the set of a movie! So pretty!
Pretty, very, very... quiet Torchiara!
Next day, we made a special trip, only to find that every flag, except two, had been taken down. It was a very hot day, and when I say hot, I mean... boiling hot! As we stood by a big terrace, right on on top of the town, we couldn't fail to notice the incredible amount of orange and lemon trees. In Campania you get the best oranges and the lemons are just... spectacular!
I have a tiny orange tree, in my Italian garden. It's little, tiny, in fact, and straggly and reminds me of Charlie Brown's little Christmas tree. My orange tree only has 5 leaves and is refusing to grow!
Thinking about my days in the sun, today I made a cake ( not what I'm best at!) I do wish I had had some of the Italian oranges I bought in Summer, but I had to use what I found at the shops! And I wondered whether the almonds I used once grew in Italy, or Greece, or some other sunny Mediterranean country.
This is the cake I made. I couldn't believe that the "loose" mixture could have made a light and fluffy cake, but... it did!
I crystallized the rose petals. NOT THE ROSE!
And here is how I made it!
Soffice torta all'arancia
(Almond and orange cake)
200 g ( 7 oz) peeled whole almonds
or: 200 g f( 7 oz) finely ground almonds
3 oranges (use small ones)
4 medium eggs
50 g ( 2 oz) cornflour
150 g ( 5 oz) sugar
25 g (1 oz) cane sugar (Demerara) for the tin
pinch of salt
Before you start, you need to grind your almonds ( I used a small mixer, but next time I will buy ground almonds!) Next, squeeze your oranges and collect the juice in a cup.
Separate the eggs, then beat the yolks with the sugar till you get a really smooth, pale, zabaione-like fluffy mixture (I love it!) The egg whites need to be placed in a separate bowl, with a pinch of salt, and beaten, till they form a light, airy mixture.
You are now ready to assemble all the ingredients. Pour the orange juice into the bowl, with the egg yolk zabaione, followed by the cornflour. Mix together with a spatula, then incorporate the whisked whites, by folding very gently.
1) grinding my almonds 2) blending egg and sugar 3)whisking the egg whites 4) in the tin!
Grease a 22 cm cake tin, then dust with a generous amount of cane sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven (200 C.) The mixture is very liquid, but, strange enough, it makes a light sponge!
Serve cold, maybe with whipped cream or lovely yogurt or yummy creme fraiche!
Looks beautiful from above
My cake is delicious, but next time I will add some orange zest to make it more orangey and I will buy finely ground almonds for a crunchy, dry base!