Olive oil cake is nothing new to anyone who is familiar with Italian cooking. It keeps the cake lovely and moist. Rapeseed oil is a great alternative, as it has a slightly milder flavour
• 5 large oranges
• 100ml rapeseed oil
• 4 eggs
• 450g caster sugar
• 125g self-raising flour
• 125g ground almonds
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 150g cream cheese
• 150g creme fraiche
• 25g icing sugar
• 25g walnut halves, crumbled
• 1 tablespoon basil cress or tiny basil leaves
1 Preheat the oven to 170°C. Lightly butter a 23cm springform cake tin.
2 Remove the zest from three of the oranges and set aside, then remove the pith and discard. Roughly chop the flesh, then either place in a saucepan with the rapeseed oil and blitz until puréed with a stick blender, or blitz with the oil in a food blender.
3 Whisk the orange zest, eggs and 250g of the caster sugar in a food mixer or a large bowl with an electric whisk, until the mixture is very light and ribbons form when the whisk is lifted out.
4 Mix the flour, ground almonds and baking powder together in a separate bowl.
5 Fold half the puréed orange into the eggs, then add all the flour and the rest of the puréed orange.
6 Pour into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour until golden-brown and risen. Check the cake is cooked by inserting a clean skewer or knife into the centre – if it comes out clean, the cake is ready; if not, cook for a further 5 minutes and check once more.
7 While the cake cooks, prepare the topping. Whisk the cream cheese, crème fraîche and icing sugar together in a bowl until smooth and thickened, and chill in the fridge until needed.
8 Peel the last two oranges using a vegetable peeler, then slice the peel very finely into julienne.
9 Put 150ml of water into a saucepan with 150g of caster sugar and the julienned orange peel. Bring to the boil and simmer for 8–10 minutes.
10 Strain into a sieve set over a bowl and press through lightly to remove the sugar syrup. You can use this for a salad dressing or in another cake.
11 Place the last 50g of caster sugar on a plate and toss the julienned orange peel into it, moving it around with your hands to make sure all the strands are coated.
12 Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin before turning it out and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled cake and decorate with crumbled walnut pieces, the candied julienne strips and basil cress.
13 Without the cress the cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Recipe courtesy of James Martin, extracted from Home Comforts