This fragrant cake has a great, light texture and will keep, covered, for at least a week. You'll find, though, that you'll go back to it every few hours for "just another sliver". A citrus zester is the best tool for getting long, even strips of orange skin to garnish the cake.
200g unsalted butter
380g caster sugar
4 clementines, zest grated, and juiced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
280g ground almonds
5 medium free-range eggs, beaten
100g plain flour, sifted
1/8 tsp salt
Orange zest, cut in strips, to garnish
For the chocolate icing (optional):
90g unsalted butter, diced
150g dark chocolate, broken up
½ tbsp honey
½ tbsp cognac
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 24cm spring-form tin, and line the sides and base with baking parchment.
- Put the butter, 300g of the sugar (the remaining 80g is for the syrup) and citrus zest in a mixer bowl, and use a paddle attachment to combine. Do not work the mix too much or incorporate much air. Add half the ground almonds and continue mixing to fold through. Add the eggs gradually, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go. Add the remaining almonds, flour and salt, and work until the mix is smooth.
- Spread the cake batter inside the tin and level with a palette knife. Bake for 50-60 minutes - a skewer should come out a little bit moist.
- When the cake is almost cooked, in a small pan bring to a boil the remaining sugar and citrus juices (the juices should add up to about 120ml; don't use more), then remove from the heat at once. The moment the cake comes out of the oven, brush it all over with the hot syrup, making sure it all soaks through. Leave to cool down. Serve it as it is, garnished with orange strips, or store for up to three days in an airtight container.
- To make the icing, put the butter, chocolate and honey in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until all is melted, remove from the heat and stir in the cognac. Pour the icing over the cool cake, allowing it to dribble naturally down the sides without covering the cake completely. Let the icing set, then garnish with strips of orange zest at the centre.