Grey January days, the kind when the rain’s making a racket on the windows and the sky has been bleached of its blue, are the days that demand cake. Something simple yet vibrant, something reminiscent of the colours and tastes of the last couple of weeks – and here she is. This sweet, syrupy loaf cake is a riot of orange and pink, with a satisfying pop of sharpness thanks to the generous smattering of pomegranate seeds. Sliced thick and served with a pot of tea, it’s the perfect start to the year.
This recipe is taken from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries II – quite simply, the perfect cook book.
for the cake…
- 175g unsalted butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 125g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 50g ground almonds
- 2 tsp of orange zest
for the syrup…
- 6 tbsp of caster sugar
- juice of 2 medium oranges
- 6 tbsp of unsweetened pomegranate juice
- the seeds of 1 pomegranate
you will need – a loaf tin lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / Gas Mark 3. First of all cream together the butter and sugar using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for at least 10 minutes, you want it as light as a cloud. Next, gradually add the beaten egg to the butter and sugar mixture. Sieve together the flour and baking powder into a small bowl before stirring through the ground almonds. Still on the mixer, add the flour to the mix a little at a time. Finally, remove the bowl from the mixer and fold through the orange zest gently. Spoon the mix into your prepared tin and bake for 45 mins.
- With about 10-15 mins before the cake is due out of the oven, whip up the syrup. Simply add the caster sugar to the orange juice and then stir through the pomegranate juice. You don’t want to dissolve the sugar as you do this, the syrup will remain thick and sticky. As soon as the cake is done and still hot, pierce the surface all over with a skewer and spoon over the syrup. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds to decorate and allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
Another of my favourite Nigel Slater recipes is this scrummy chocolate muscovado banana cake – it even made a convert of this staunch banana hater!