Clementine & Almond Syrup Cake
We have adopted the recipe to incorporate lavender. Lavender and citrus is a wonderful paring in both savory and sweet desserts. This fragrant cake has a great, light texture and will keep, covered, for at least a week. Note: A citrus zester is the best tool for getting long, even strips of orange skin to garnish the cake.
Author: This recipe is adopted from one of my all time favorite cookbooks that Jess (who worked on the farm) gave me as a gift a few years ago, called "Jerusalem" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.
- ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups caster sugar (also known as superfine sugar)
- 4 clementines (or use mandarins), zest grated, and juiced
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2½ cups ground almonds - almond flour
- 5 medium eggs, beaten
- ¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp plain flour, sifted
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Orange zest, cut in strips, to garnish
- For the chocolate icing (optional):
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
- 3 Tbsp lavender buds
- 5 oz good quality dark chocolate, broken up
- 2 ½ tsp honey
- 1 ½ tsp cognac (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Lightly grease a 12" spring-form tin, and line the sides and base with baking parchment.
- Put the butter, 1½ cups of the sugar (the remaining ½ cup 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, lavender buds (like Folgate or Buena Vista) and citrus juices (the juices should add up to about ½ cup; don't use more), then remove from the heat at once. Strain out lavender buds using metal sieve.
- 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.
- If you decide to ice the cake: 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 and a lavender sprig at the center.