Tag Archives: marmalade

Floaty light marmalade layer cake…

Not another marma-laden blog post I hear you cry! It does seem that I’ve developed a slight marmalade addiction of late. The thing is…I still have a few jars of my homemade amber nectar to get through and delicious sounding marmalade based recipes keep invading my periphery! 

This month, for the ‘Book & Bake’ club that I attend we were reading ‘Case Histories’ by Kate Atkinson and baking something from Dan Lepard’s ‘Short and Sweet’. I’ve already baked quite a few things from his book and am very happy to report that everything has been an absolute success and his marmalade layer cake was no exception…

Now, I’m a little bit nervous about even mentioning Mr Lepard’s name as I know there have been a number of incidents where his publisher has requested that recipes be removed from blogs due to copyright issues. I’m hoping that posting a link to the recipe on the Guardian website is acceptable, so here goes…follow this link and you will find a recipe for the most deliciously light sponge with a marmalade zing. It doesn’t contain any butter just lashings of double cream and involves lots of beating to fill it with air and make it floaty light! To finish it off it’s sandwiched and topped off with swathes of vanilla laden cream! Awesome…

The ‘Book & Bake’ ladies had thrown themselves into the task at hand and excelled. Just look at that spread… 

Out of sheer luck we managed not to have any duplicates. From ‘Short & Sweet’ there was cherry beet cake, marbled chocolate crumb cake, alchemist’s chocolate cake (yes, it was as crazy as it sounds), banana blondies, dark chocolate chunk cookies and raspberry ripple tarts. We even had sweet potato brownie’s, malt whisky ginger cake and lemon curd cookies from Dan’s column in the Guardian. And of course there was my marmalade layer cake…

I took one for the team and, for experimental purposes only you understand, made sure I tried a bit of everything :)…

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Chocolate, marmalade & hazelnut cake…serious chocoholics venture forth!

Due to my recent Seville orange marmalade escapades (blogged here) I have 10 jars of the wonder stuff sitting, looking up at me from my bedroom floor (maybe not the standard place for marmalade storage but let’s face it, not many people are lucky enough to have a larder like Nigella’s!). They serve as a constant reminder that there’s so much baking I’d like to be doing but, frustratingly, not enough hours in the day to do it!

I treated myself to a relaxing Saturday morning holed up in bed, under the duvet, perusing cook books and deciding what was next on my baking agenda. I eventually settled for a chocolate, marmalade and hazelnut cake from Rachel Allen’s ‘Bake’ book…

It appealed to me because, not only would I be able to use my yummy marmalade but also for that fact that it’s a flourless cake, which is something I’ve not really experimented with before. Little did I know that it’d turn out to be the gooey-est, squidgy-est, richest and most intensely delicious cake ever! The kind of cake that shakes awake your taste buds, gives you a head rush and sends you into a food coma simultaneously! If you think you’re hard enough to give it a go you’ll need…

175g butter

175g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

5 eggs, separated

175g caster sugar

150g hazelnuts (with skins on) ground up in a food processor. I used a handheld stick blender, it was a bit messy but got the job done.

200g marmalade

Zest of 1 orange, grated finely

For the topping you’ll need…

75g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

75ml double cream

Zest of 1 orange, grated finely

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and grease and line an 8 or 9 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together with a handheld electric beater or some muscle power and a good old fashioned whisk until they’re light and have a mousse-like consistency.

Once the chocolate and butter have totally melted, add in the ground hazelnuts, marmalade and orange zest and stir well.

The final component of the cake mixture is the egg whites. Whisk them until they form stiff peaks. You need to make sure there is no yolk in with your whites and that the bowl you use is spotlessly clean or they’ll never reach the right consistency.

Now to put everything together…fold the egg yolk and sugar mixture into the chocolate and hazelnut gloop until well combined. Then, in 3 batches, add the egg whites, folding them into the mixture very gently so as to retain as much of their light, fluffy, airiness as possible. 

Pour the finished cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and cook in the oven for 20 minutes, before turning the temperature down to 170 degrees and cooking for another 35-40 minutes. I tested mine at 35 minutes by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake and seeing whether it came out clean…it didn’t, so I popped it back in for another 5 minutes and repeated this process at 5 minute intervals until the skewer came out clean and I was satisfied that it was ready..

Leave the cake to cool for a few minutes in the tin before removing it and letting it cool completely on a wire rack.

When it’s cool, it’s ready for icing. Melt the chocolate, cream and orange zest in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. As before, be very careful that the bowl isn’t actually touching the water.

Something went a bit awry for me at this stage…my icing was very thick! The recipe told you to put the cake on a serving place and to pour the icing over, letting it drip down the sides. My icing, however, was far from pouring consistency! A taste test told me that although it didn’t look quite right, it tasted amazing, so I decided to make the best of a bad situation and used a pallette knife to coat the top of my cake with what was in essence, thick, chocolate ganache…

I couldn’t wait the recommended 30 minutes to 1 hour for it to set and instead, put the kettle on, made a cuppa and got stuck in…

My eyes were bigger than my stomach and the flavours so amazingly intense that I savoured it very slowly and had to pause for a rest midway. It’s most definitely not a cake for the lily-livered…only serious chocoholics should venture forth!

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My annual Seville orange marmalade expedition in pictures…

Last year, I adopted a new annual tradition of Seville orange marmalade making. I’d never attempted it before last January and haven’t tried it again since, that is until last weekend. This is mainly because the Seville orange season is only a short one (Dec-Feb), which is now nearing it’s end. To be honest, I think it’s something about the transience of these gnarly, nobbly citrus fruit that appeals to me, along with the fact that they produce awesome, bitter sweet marmalade that really packs a punch! I like a full bodied, brash marmalade, Robinson’s Golden Shredless will never grace the shelves of my fridge!

I decided to use the same Nigel Slater recipe as last year (recipe here) but to double it to make a batch of 10 jars. Before even setting to work I had assigned homes to a number of jars and I wanted to make sure there was enough left to satisfy my own addiction!

In the space of a year I seemed to have forgotten the amount of work that goes into chopping the peel of 24 oranges and 4 lemons…

2 Hours later, there I was still (not so) patiently shredding the peel…

I got there in the end though, all be it with one arm that would have made Popeye proud!

The peel and juice went in a couple of pans to soak over night, along with muslin bundles packed with the pith, pips and general leftover orange goodies…

The next day I set to work boiling up the pots of peel until they were tender…

Before adding the sugar…

and bringing them to a rolling boil…

This part of the process is the most nervewracking and time consuming. I spent the best part of two hours watching my boiling pots, skimming scum from the surface and testing it every 10 minutes to see whether it had reached the optimum setting consistency, whilst marmalade laden condensation dripped down my kitchen windows!

The magical moment eventually arrived and I was delighted to have produced a vat of beautifully deep, dark, tangy Seville marmalade goodness…

Which I spooned into a motley crew of jars…

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been drawn into quite a few marmalade based discussions and have realised that preferences in consistency, density of peel and coarseness vary greatly from person to person. The beauty of making your own marmalade, apart from the pride you feel afterwards, is that you can make it exactly how YOU like it! Mine is getting better year on year…can’t wait ‘til next January’s attempt.

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Sticky marmalade tealoaf…

I’ve developed an all encompassing addiction for my homemade Seville Orange marmalade…slathered on hot buttered toast, it can quell even the worst of hangovers and brighten the rainiest of days. But stock levels are dwindling and I’ve had to ration my last couple of jars very carefully. However, the other day, having promised a friend that I would bake for them, I decided to throw caution to the wind and use the last jar in an attempt to make a double whammy of homemade goodness…

sticky marmalade tealoaf…

I was a bit worried that I had overcooked it, but despite my apprehension at the slightly darker colour of the cake…it turned out to be delicious! The chunky marmalade not only added texture to the cake along with the pecans but also made the most amazing sticky glaze to top it off perfectly!

Here’s the recipe…

140g marmalade

175g butter, softened

175g light muscovado sugar

3 eggs, beaten

225g self raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

100g packet pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin (or if you’re jammy like me, you’ll have a silicone loaf tin!).

Save about 1 tbsp of the marmalade in a small pan for later.

Put the rest of the marmalade and the other ingredients, except the pecans into a bowl and mix together for a couple of minutes until smooth and light. At this stage you can stir in three quarters of the pecans.

Pour the batter into the tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining pecans over and bake in the oven for 1 – 1 1/4 hours. You’ll need to cover the tin loosely with foil after about 35-40 minutes of cooking otherwise it will burn. After an hour (or just before), take the cake out and insert a skewer into its middle. If it comes out clean…it’s ready! If not pop it back in for a few more minutes and check again.

Once you’re happy that it’s cooked, remove it from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack for a while.

Gently heat up the marmalade that you set aside earlier, this is going to provide a gorgeous sticky glaze for your loaf. Once the marmalade is liquid and smooth, spread it over the warm cake and there you have it…

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‘a taste of the sun on toast’

Last year I found this article by Nigel Slater, unfortunately at the time of reading it I’d missed the Seville orange season by just a few weeks. I stashed it away in my memory banks until a couple of days ago, which happened to fall perfectly in the middle of my window of Seville marmalade making opportunity! I love Nigels infectiously passionate way of writing about food, it always compels me to roll up my sleeves and get busy in the kitchen. So this weekend I decided to do just that and pop my marmalade making cherry, or should that be orange!

Nigel’s recipe calls for 12 Seville oranges and 2 lemons…

Scrub them really well in case they’ve been sprayed with any nasties, then score them into quarters from top to bottom (not piercing the flesh) and peel off the rind…

Shred the rind into thin strips. I found this job quite enjoyable with the aid of some good tunes and a sharp knife. I opted for a medium cut marmalade (it would have been fine but my knife skills aren’t up to much and I got a bit distracted by the music I was listening to :)) If you prefer yours chunky just cut thicker slices…

Put the peel into a large pot. Squeeze the juice from the fruit into a measuring jug but don’t throw away the pips, flesh and pith!

Make the juice up to 4 litres with cold water and pour into the pot with the peel. Tie the fleshy leftovers in a muslin bundle and submerge it in the pot…

Cover the pot and leave it in a cool place overnight to infuse.

The next day bring the juice and the peel to the boil… 

Once boiling, turn it down to a simmer and leave it bubbling away until the peel is soft and transluscent. Nigel says that this can take anything from 40 minutes to an hour and a half but mine only needed 30 minutes to reach the perfect texture.

Remove the muslin bag of goodies and set it aside to cool.

At this point you add 1.25kg unrefined golden granulated sugar and turn up the heat.

As soon as the muslin bundle is cool enough to handle you need to squeeze every last drop of goodness out of the orange innards. The viscous liquid that came out had the delightful consistency of snot, which made for a bit of a weird sensation. But this magic goo is very important as it’s laden with masses of natural pectin, which helps the marmalade to set.

You need to bring the marmalade to a rolling boil and regularly skim off any froth that rises to the surface, otherwise your preserve will end up cloudy. This part of the whole process is definitely the most time consuming. I watched my boiling pot like a hawk wanting to make sure that I caught it at the exact point that it reached setting consistency. Nigel recommends boiling it initially for a good 15 minutes and then testing it by spooning a tablespoon of marmalade onto a plate and putting it in the fridge for a few minutes. If a thick skin forms on the surface of the chilled marmalade…it’s ready. If not, then keep it boiling and repeat the test every 10-15 minutes.

I had to exercise some real patience (not my strong point) as my marmalade took its own sweet time to reach setting point…a pot watching, froth skimming, nail biting 70 minutes! quite a bit longer than Nigel’s worst case scenario of 50 minutes.

But the gorgeous deep, rich preserve I was left with was worth every second…

Spoon the marmalade straight into sterilised jars and seal them immediately…

I resisted the strong urge to slather it straight into some toast and made myself seal every jar and wait until the marmalade was fully set before sampling it for the first time.

In the words of Mr Nigel Slater “here it is, a little pot of bright, shining happiness, full of bittersweet flavour and stinging thumbs”…

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