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I think I just got lucky this summer. It was my first summer in our new house and I felt lucky to spread my ingredients, doughs, batters on new countertops, play on the cooktop or admire the new convection oven capabilities. Despite of a very humid and hot summer my breads, rolls, tarts and sugar creations came out great. I was knocking on wood everytime though. Apparently I did not knock hard enough. Everything I made yesterday turned out to be a failure. I weighed, measured, stirred, sifted, followed recipes, did not disturb science and chemistry and yet everything failed in one way shape or form. Let’s see, first my donuts did not rise, my croissants got blah, my brownies tasted bland, my bread had an identity crisis…. I am telling you! A baker’s hell!
Allright, so maybe it was a sign that we did not need anymore sweets, that maybe my mojo had taken a vacation. Nevertheless, I am "une gourmande" and I have to end the day with something sweet. In desperation I started to make fruit salad, and that alone made me feel terrible: even with a splash of booze, it is nothing to write home about. I was about to cut up an orange when my eyes wandered onto the stack of recipes next to the fruit bowl and there it was, "The sign from the Pastry Gods": Anne’s recipe for an orange and almond cake that looked quite appealing at that precise moment. Everything looked pretty straightforward, no major pastry prouesse but in my state of being that was not a bad thing to attempt!
I toyed with the idea of following the recipe "a la lettre" (to the T), but I felt bold enough to defy my streak of bad luck and changed a couple of things.

Here is the original recipe and my changes in ( ).

2 oranges (mine were big so I only used one)
65 gr. butter
200 gr. sugar
5 eggs
150 gr. ground almonds ( I used half almonds, half semolina flour)
2 tsp. baking powder

200 gr. sugar
125 ml
1 orange

Wash the oranges. In a saucepan, put the oranges and cover with water. Cook on medium heat for 45 minutes. Take them out of the water, cut them in half and put them in the bowl of a food processor and puree them, skin and all.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, the baking powder, the almonds and the orange puree.
Pour into a 9 inch cake plate and bake for about 45 minutes. (I put mine in 8′ square one)

For the syrup: put all the ingredients into a saucepan and reduce on low heat for about 20 minutes.
Pour it on top of the cake when you take it out of the oven.

I decided to skip this step as the cake seemed to be plenty moist. The result is an incredebly fragrant cake great to end a light meal or to start the day.
I seemed to have gotten my bad luck episode. We’ll see tomorrow!

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Anonymous September 6, 2006 um 9:25 am

That looks beautiful in a very simple and elegant way 😀 How I wish I a little piece for myself after my dinner…

Anonymous September 6, 2006 um 6:47 pm

Hélène ce cake a l’air parfait pour les fois où il me reste quelques oranges au fond de ma corbeille à fruits 😉
Le "baker’s hell" je connais et ça mérite bien son nom … Il y a des périodes de ma vie culinaire où tout se passe à merveille et quelques temps après…paf….je rate un plat (une patisserie le plus souvent). Alors là, j’ai le moral dans les chausettes…donc je refais tout de suite un autre gâteau, et, je repars comme je suis venue, pleine de réussite (sans me vanter évidement 😉
Continue à nous faire saliver depuis l’autre côté de l’atlantique….

Helene September 6, 2006 um 7:54 pm

Emma: tu as raison, c’est comme le velo ou le cheval: des qu’on tombe il faut se remettre sur la selle!

Ellie: we saved a piece, your name is on it!

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