Orange, Lavender & Honey Cake
Citrus in baking seems to some people like a ludicrous proposition; my other half for instance avoids the combination like death. I myself find it quite wonderful though and as someone without much of a sweet tooth I love that it cuts through the sickly. This recipe was one I developed before leaving Australia - amidst the southern wintertime and a gluttony of navals. Down there, there's no such thing as an orangery; the climate is kind to citrus and it literally grows by the street side. Of course here in London we're not fortunate of local citrus, indeed I'm yet to find a locally grown orange - if such a thing exists.
I have mixed feelings about imported produce, though I'm beginning to understand why trade is so prolific in some regions. It's important in my opinion to support local growers though I'm also not one to abstain either. I suppose this is the fine line we walk now that our world is so interconnected - traditionally you had to seek out the foreign and exotic ingredients; nowadays you have to do so for the local. I wonder at times if we'll come to regret that reality. Anyhow this monologue is hardly an accompaniment for cake. Wherever you find your oranges you can be rest assured this is a good final destination for them.
Orange Lavender & Honey Cake
150g of butter
4 tbsp of honey
1/4 cup of coconut sugar
An orange, zest and sliced into rounds, removing the skin
150g of brown rice flour
150g of almond flour
2 tsp of baking powder
2 tbsp of arrowroot flour
For the syrup:
The juice of 2 oranges
1/2 cup of honey
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp of ground lavender
To begin preheat the oven to 170°C and grease an 18cm springform cake tin. In a large mixing bowl combine the baking powder, brown rice, almond and arrowroot flour and then set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until creamy before adding the honey, coconut sugar and orange zest and beating the mixture until it's well combined. Fold through the eggs one at a time along with a spoonful of the flour mixture. Fold through the last of the flour and then transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin. Smooth out the batter with the back of a spoon and then gently press the slices of orange into the top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the cake is golden and cooked through. Meanwhile to prepare the syrup combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat and gently warm until the honey is melted; reserve the syrup in a small pouring jug. After removing the cake from the oven pierce it several times with a cake skewer and then pour over half of the lavender honey syrup so that it seeps into the crumb. I like to serve the cake warm with the leftover syrup but it can also be stored for a couple of days in an airtight container.
SEASONAL GUIDE / temperate CLIMATE
Oranges; mid winter through mid autumn.
ALSO COMPLEMENTARY TO SERVE WITH
Chopped almonds, pistachios, crème fraîche, dark chocolate.
Lemon / poppyseed / natural yoghurt / honey
Lime / desiccated coconut / fresh passionfruit
Fresh blueberries / cardamom / ripe banana / maple syrup