My husband bought home a beautiful bag of navel oranges recently. I’ve always got semolina in the cupboard, so when I saw this cake by Neil Perry in Good Food that used both, I thought I’d give it a whirl. Its a lovely cake for afternoon tea. The recipe calls for golden caster sugar which is made from unrefined sugar and a pale brown colour. If you have a Thomas Dux or other speciality food store nearby, ask if they stock Billingtons – they make every kind of sugar under the sun. If not, just substitute normal white caster sugar.
115g golden caster sugar
65ml vegetable oil
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
40ml orange flower water
225g fine semolina
3 tsp baking powder
115g almond meal
285g caster sugar
4 pieces of orange peel (use a peeler)
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp orange flower water
1. To make the syrup put the caster sugar, water and orange peel in a small saucepan. Set over a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and allow it to bubble for 15-20 minutes to make a sticky syrup. Transfer into a jug and remove the orange peel. Add the juices and orange flower water. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 190ºC and line a 20cm x 30cm rectangular baking tin with baking paper.
3. For the cake, whisk the sugar, oil and orange zest together in an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each, until thick and foamy. Mix in the milk and orange flower water.
4. Combine the semolina and baking powder. Beat into the cake mixture, then add the ground almonds. Pour into the baking tin, making sure mixture is level. Place tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until it is golden and just cooked.
5. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Using a skewer, prick holes in the top and slowly pour over 1 1/2 cups of syrup. When cool, slice and serve with remaining syrup if desired.