My American friend Elsa shared this recipe with me many years ago. In her original recipe, she had used polenta. Since semolina is more readily available in the supermarkets, I experimented and got this perfect recipe for Christmas. Also, I prefer to use oranges that are quite sour. This cake is very moist and can be kept refrigerated for at least 2 months and frozen for up to a year! It makes for an ideal Christmas gift too.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour + 1 hour
4 medium oranges
500 g mixed dried fruits
60 ml brandy or orange juice
100 g Q.B.B. Pure Ghee, room temperature
100 g salted butter, room temperature
200 g dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ teaspoons mixed spice powder
200 g fine semolina
100 g ground almond
1 tsp baking powder
3 seedless oranges
150 g caster sugar
150 ml water
- Place the 4 oranges in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook the oranges for 40 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin and line the base with non-stick paper.
- Cut the cooked oranges, remove any pips and discard. Process the oranges in a food processor until finely chopped. DO NOT PUREE IT.
- Place the dried fruits, brandy and chopped orange pulp in a bowl and mix well.
- Cream the Q.B.B. Pure Ghee, butter and sugar together until pale.
- Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, mixing well between each addition.
- In another bowl, combine the spices, ground almonds, semolina and baking powder.
- Fold into the creamed mixture along with the dried fruit and orange pulp.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and smoothen the top. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and continue to bake for a further 40 minutes. Cover the top of the cake loosely with aluminium foil if the cake becomes too brown.
- Cool cake in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
- To make the decoration, slice the oranges to 5mm thickness.
- Place the sugar into a saucepan with water and cook over a low heat, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved.
- Put the orange slices in the pan and stir well.
- To keep the oranges submerged in the syrup, cut out a circle of greaseproof paper to fit into the pan and place over the fruit.
- Cook over a low heat for 1 hour until glossy and translucent. Remove and spread out over greaseproof paper to cool.
- To serve, dust the whole cake with icing sugar, then arrange the orange slices, overlapping, over the top of the cake