I’m so enjoying the Great British Bake-Off. It’s fair to say that it’s a highlight of my weeks at the moment, even though we never watch it live and pick it up later in the week. One of my lovely colleagues asked me yesterday if I’d heard about Ruby’s Twitter altercation – news to me. Oh dear, poor lass. Sill, it’s not put me off her or the show – except for the possibility that it’s a very unintentional spoiler in that she probably wouldn’t be tweeting quite so crossly if she had won the contest! But maybe that’s reading too much into it. (Plus I probably would have reacted just as vociferously in her shoes. Goodness only knows I’ve had my moments on social media and don’t suffer personal attacks lightly.)
Still, that’s how I came to be reading her blog yesterday and my word, that girl can write. She’s deleted some of the posts now, I think, but this was a beautiful one about food and love and whisky and memories. I enjoyed reading the poetry and philosophy as much as the recipes so it’s a shame if she is going to remove those.
Her recipe for an orange and white chocolate loaf cake is still there though. So, wanting something for a Saturday morning bake, I’ve borrowed the bones of it for today’s orange, almond and apricot loaf. I can’t match her evocative description of zesting oranges – I didn’t get to grow heady on the scent of orange zest because the heart and soul of this cake came from a little bottle of orange extract. I also swapped the white chocolate for ground and flaked almonds and dried apricots and added in a little spice.
Really though, this was an excuse to use my shiny new silicon loaf tin. Purple like the last one but this time with a VERY handy metal edge so I don’t splosh cake mix everywhere.
Orange, almond and apricot loaf
This is basically a copy and paste of Ruby’s recipe. I’ve italicised the bits that I’ve changed.
- 125g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- zest 1 lemon
- 100g self-raising flour
- 75g ground almonds
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 60ml milk
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 50g flaked almonds
- 25g flaked almonds to sprinkle on the top
- Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan). Admire your new 2lb silicon loaf tin!
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (this takes some elbow grease, or a food processor)
- Beat in the zest and gradually add the eggs
- Gently fold in the flour and milk, followed by the spices and flaked and ground almonds
- Spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth over, and sprinkle over the extra flaked almonds.
- Bake for 55mins – when ready, a skewer/knife inserted into the middle of the cake should come out with only a few crumbs sticking to it.
- Allow to cool then store in an air-tight tin. I don’t know why I feel the need to tell you that. It’s a cake. What else are you going to do with it?!
Ruby’s version adds a glorious-sounding lemon and orange syrup and then a drizzle of white chocolate but I decided against them: I’m hoping that the almonds and apricots inside the cake should add enough richness, moisture and interest to mean it shouldn’t need them. Time and tasting will tell!