I'd be lying if I said I was not impressionable. When I watched "Fast Food Nation," all I could think about was buying a McChicken.
And when I was reading Jane Green's "From Promises to Keep," I had barely finished a few chapters when I bought the ingredients to make this Middle-Eastern inspired almost flourless orange and almond cake she wrote into the storyline, one of several tantalizing recipes included in the novel.
As you can see, I am short on patience and I ate a slice, or two, before taking a photograph.
In fact, so many of the recipes in Jane Green's latest book were so tempting that I messaged one of the Penguin publicists on Twitter, asking whose recipes these were. Turns out Jane Green is not only a talented author but a talented cook and baker too. You can see more of her recipes on her website at this link.
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup marmalade
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
Optional: small carton whipping cream, rind of 1 orange
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch springform cake tin and line it with wax paper. Put the orange in a pan, cover with water and simmer for 1 hour (or nuke in microwave for about 25 minutes) until soft. Cut the orange in half, remove the seeds and puree it in a food processor. (Editor's note, yes this means the rind too).
Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Fold in the flour, baking powder, almonds and orange puree. Pour in the tin and bake for 1 hour.
Melt the marmalade in a small pan, then pour through a fine sieve, pressing to get all the juice out. Spread the rind-free juice over the cake.
When cool, sift the confectioner's sugar over the cake. Mix whipped cream with the orange rind and serve alongside.
I added a teaspoon of almond extract, and also vanilla extract. I wish I bought a better, sweeter marmalade as the one I had was slightly bitter and I didn't do the best job of making sure it was rind-free. I also didn't whip the cream and serve it alongside the cake, but it would have made a nice addition.
Would I make this again?
Yes, it was moist and syrupy without being heavy or cloying like some Middle Eastern pastries can be. It was easy, and a charming alternative to your typical coffee cake.
Four stars out of five. It's delicious first thing out of the oven, and even better warmed up two days later after the flavours have had a chance to develop. You won't even miss the flour.
“From Promises to Keep by Jane Green. Copyright © Jane Green, 2010. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Group (Canada), a Division of Pearson Canada Inc."