There are two recipes for one in the Muesli Bar Challenge this week. The jumping off point was Stephanie Alexander’s adaption of Claudia Roden’s adaption from a Middle Eastern classic that uses whole boiled oranges. Oranges and almonds are right in season, and I liked the idea of using whole oranges, because most of the “bioflavanoids” that make citrus fruit so healthy are in the pulp, not the juice. But the original version is marmalade-y bitter in a way that adults find gorgeous but kids find a bit too strong.
So there are two versions: one that makes a great adult lunch box treat, or, with a dollop of cream, a sensational dinner party desert. The other one that satisfies the Muesli Bar Challenge rules: healthy, ethical, based on in-season ingredients, fast and easy to make, and rated by school age reviewers as preferable to the overpackaged junk food marketed as suitable for school lunches.
- 1 cup of orange juice and pulp (or substitute mandarin juice and pulp)
For the adult, marmalade-y version, boil one large or two small oranges in a pot of water for an hour. Roughly chop, remove the seeds, and use a good stick blender or food processor to blend the whole orange, skin and all, to give 1 cup of orange pulp.
For the sweeter kids’ version, juice 2 or 3 oranges, remove the seeds, but add the pulp to the juice to give 1 cup of orange pulp.
- 2 eggs
- 2 good desertspoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
Using a good stick blender or food processor, blend all this list together with the orange pulp till it is smooth and creamy.
- 1 cup almond meal
- ¾ cup wholemeal plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Fold this list in.
Grease and line a shallow, square or rectangular cake pan with greaseproof paper.
- flaked almonds
Sprinkle all over the bottom of the pan, and spoon the cake mix in on top.
Bake in a moderate oven till the cake springs back and a skewer comes out clean. It takes about 30 minutes in a rectangular pan, a bit longer if there is more “middle” – that is, if your pan is square or deep.
- half a cup of orange juice
- 2 good desertspoons of raw sugar
Simmer for a few minutes until it goes syrupy. While the cake is still warm, turn it out of the tin and strip off the greaseproof paper. With the flaked almond side on top, poke holes all over it with a skewer. Pour the warm syrup over the warm cake and allow to soak in.