Clementine & almond syrup cake

Three cakes was just enough to give all of the Buxers a good slice of this delicious sweetness. The clementines were swopped by oranges (make that 2 in grated zest and juices) and of course we went for the optional part, chocolate! Instead of orange zest in the centre to finish it of, we opted for nuts. Hazelnuts in this case.

Tip: Pinch with a skewer little holes in the cake so the hot syrup will go right into the cake for an ultimate moist texture and citrus taste.

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Ingredients (serves 8-10)

200g unsalted butter
380g caster sugar
4 clementines, zest grated, and juiced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
280g ground almonds
5 medium free-range eggs, beaten
100g plain flour, sifted
1/8 tsp salt
Orange zest, cut in strips, to garnish

For the chocolate icing (optional)

90g unsalted butter, diced
150g dark chocolate, broken up
Β½ tbsp honey
Β½ tbsp cognac

Method

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 24cm spring-form tin, and line the sides and base with baking parchment.

Put the butter, 300g of the sugar (the remaining 80g is for the syrup) and citrus zest in a mixer bowl, and use a paddle attachment to combine. Do not work the mix too much or incorporate much air. Add half the ground almonds and continue mixing to fold through. Add the eggs gradually, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go. Add the remaining almonds, flour and salt, and work until the mix is smooth.

Spread the cake batter inside the tin and level with a palette knife. Bake for 50-60 minutes – a skewer should come out a little bit moist.

When the cake is almost cooked, in a small pan bring to a boil the remaining sugar and citrus juices (the juices should add up to about 120ml; don’t use more), then remove from the heat at once. The moment the cake comes out of the oven, brush it all over with the hot syrup, making sure it all soaks through. Leave to cool down. Serve it as it is, garnished with orange strips, or store for up to three days in an airtight container.

To make the icing, put the butter, chocolate and honey in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until all is melted, remove from the heat and stir in the cognac. Pour the icing over the cool cake, allowing it to dribble naturally down the sides without covering the cake completely. Let the icing set, then garnish with strips of orange zest at the centre.

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