Last month we enjoyed Red Navel Oranges and as lovely as they were, they aren't quite as tasty as these blood oranges.
In the past I've made Candied Blood Orange Tart, sweet yet tangy Blood Orange Marmalade, a refreshing Blood Orange Cordial and even a savoury dish of Blood Orange and Black Radish Salad but this time I'll be indulging in one of my favoured uses of citrus, a syrup infused cake. While lemon is a more common choice, blood oranges provide a much more visually alluring product.
I had originally planned to make a polenta based cake but as it turned out, I'd actually run out of polenta so I went to plan b and set about adapting a semolina slice I'd made a while back.
Served as small, individual cakes, they are bathed in a beautifully jewelled blood orange syrup that almost glows in the dish.
[Makes about 15 small cakes]
180 grams yoghurt
150 grams caster sugar
120 grams butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
180 grams semolina
1 teaspoon baking powder
50 grams almond meal
zest of 3 blood oranges
Blood Orange syrup
juice of 3 blood oranges, approx 1 cup
½ cup caster sugar
Make the syrup:
Measure the amount of juice you've obtained from the 3 oranges and then add half it's quantity in sugar. In this case, the oranges produced 1 cup of juice so I used ½ cup of caster sugar.
Place this into a pan and put over a medium heat - stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to boil and then turn down the heat to a rolling simmer - cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until it's reduced and thickened.
Make the semolina cakes:
Sift the semolina, baking powder and almond meal together into a small bowl and set aside.
Place the yoghurt, caster sugar and blood orange zest into a large bowl and stir vigorously until the sugar has been absorbed into the yoghurt.
Add the lightly beaten eggs and continue stirring until a homogeneous mixture forms. Add in the sifted semolina and start stirring to loosely mix in. Drizzle over with cooled butter and stir until a smooth, thick batter forms.
I used silicon muffin moulds to make these cakes but you could use any type of cupcake mould or make it in a regular cake tin - a loose bottomed or spring-form pan would be best.
Place the cases on a baking tray and then fill them about about two-thirds full. Bake in a pre-heated 170°C oven until cooked through - about 20-25 minutes. They won't develop a lot of colour so you should judge their doneness by firmness.
The general rule for using syrups is that you either use a hot syrup on a cold cake or a cold syrup on a hot cake. However for this recipe I've taken a different approach.
When I've taken the cakes out of the over, I've unmoulded them and then dunked them in the hot syrup - this was done just to give them a rosy colour.
For serving purposes, I serve these pre-soaked cakes with a finishing drizzle of warm syrup.
As they are small, you won't need to feel too guilty if you have two!