Roast Orange and Pecan Cake … ROAST ORANGE! Really? Yep, this is one of those wonderful moments where I totally misunderstood something someone told me and despite realising my mistake, I went ahead and did my idea anyway, and it worked.
Stubborn old cow me, but I’m so glad I am. This recipe idea was originally born in Gascony, France. It was back in September when I organised a group of bloggers to accompany me to a Pilates Retreat hosted by my darling friend Susie and her husband James. I wrote about my experience at Pignoulet and you can read more about it via the link Pilates Retreat; my little free from adventure in the South of France but this is about cake, and not just any cake. A free from, moist, rich, superbly orangey cake.
Susie liked to leave out cake, iced water and all the things we’d need to make a cup of tea each afternoon whilst we relaxed between meals and pilates. One such cake was a recipe by the lovely Rick Stein, Susie kindly emailed me the recipe on my return to England…which I promptly lost! (rolls eyes and shakes head).
For weeks and weeks I promised myself I’d look up the recipe with a view to adapting it to be totally free from egg, dairy and gluten. I kept buying oranges for that purpose but instead Lewis and I kept eating the oranges and a few were turned into Orange & Clove Gin and my newest Bailey’s recipe; Chocolate Orange Bailey’s.
Anyway, when I finally found the recipe on the interweb it called for clementine’s that are boiled and blended whole.
‘Ahhhhhh, I seeeee, boiled clementines, yes that would make sense’!
You see all this time in my mind the recipe had called for oranges that were roasted in the oven. Yes that’s right, I imagined roasting an orange. The thing is that I’d thought so much about it that I simply couldn’t get the idea out of my head. So I did just that, covered an orange in olive oil and shoved it whole into the oven to roast for 40 minutes. I half expected it to explode but I was sure that this process would only improve and intensify the flavours. Guess what, I was right.
The original recipe called for almonds, which I agree do go ever so well with orange but there were two issues with this the first time I made the cake. Firstly, I had no ground almonds, secondly I felt that the intensified orange flavour would drown out any almond notes so as I had a bag of pecan halves it seemed to me that this was the flavour match I needed. This sounds like a way to shoehorn an advert for pecans into my recipe, it’s honestly not, I promise (laughs).
I’ve made this cake several times now and with each tiny tweak it got better and better, now I’m totally satisfied with the end result. So this is my Roast Orange and Pecan Cake to celebrate our time in Pignoulet.