Winter Sunshine

by Jeanne


I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.

~D.H. Lawrence

I love citrus. A large bright family that includes sweet and sour oranges, lemons, limes, citrons, pomelos, grapefruit, tangerines, clementines (Pixies!) and kumquats (ok technically not but we all think it.) Is there any other fruit that can make you feel so happy? Is there another that can come along and enliven a winter dish of beets or simple pasta.

Over the past month I was lucky enough to receive generous harvests from a friend’s backyard "orchard."  Darn those were good.  Eating them out of hand, fresh squeeze o.j. and then this cake that I made was the perfect compliment to an Easter dinner.

It’s such a simple and efficient recipe using every part of the orange–peel, pith, and flesh and when all is done there is just a hint of almond carried through the very moist and dense cake. Weeks after baking this cake for Easter dinner I learned that it’s very close in composition to a recipe from Claudia Rosen and Nigella Lawson.

What’s even better than the cake is the compote–really a quick route to homemade marmalade.  And really what is marmalade but jam with the peel. Ok that’s a bit offhand but for those that like the bright taste of orange on their toast or crumpets this part of the recipe is worth holding on to–and I promise it won’t be around long enough for it to spoil.

Orange Almond Cake

Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. And don’t we all know her recipes are thorough… follow this version you will have success.  Let’s just say her recipes assume a generous base of experience by the baker.


6 navel or other sweet oranges

Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pan

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

1 3/4 cups finely ground blanched almonds (about 6 ounces)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 large eggs

2 cups sugar


Place whole unpeeled oranges in a large pot and cover with cold water. Over high heat bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently for 2 hours. Drain off the water and set the oranges aside to cool.

A few hours later:

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9" springform pan.  Cut the cooled oranges in half; remove any seeds. Place 7 halves into a food processor and pulse until almost pureed but still a little chunky.  There should be about 3 cups.

In a small bowl whisk the ground almonds, flour, baking powder and salt together.  In an electric mixer bowl with the whisk attachment beat the eggs with 1 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Stir in orange puree until just combined.  Stir in flour mixture.   Pour into prepared springform pan.  Bake for about 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean from the center.  Cool completely.

Prepare orange marmalade compote:

Chop the remaining 5 orange halves into 1/2" pieces. Place in bowl.  In a medium sized saucepan combine remaining cup sugar with 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved.

Add the chopped oranges and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer this mixture gently until the liquid has evaporated and thickens into a syrup about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

To serve:

arrange chopped oranges and pour any remaining syrup over top of cake. Cut into wedges. Can be stored up to two days in the refrigerator.