Deciding what to cook on Christmas Day is always a pleasure as it’s one of those events where you can really push the boat out.
We always have Christmas Day lunch at my parent’s house with family and friends. Some years there are around 20 people sitting down to lunch, other years, closer to 30. It’s a day of feasting, fun and relaxation for all and often continues on until dinner time.
Last year I made a three-layer raspberry and pomegranate pavlova, which was suitably decadent and enjoyed by all. This year I know a friend is bringing an extravagant trifle with lashings of cream and thick layers of sponge and jelly so I’m going to make a simple but special gluten-free orange and almond cake.
For this recipe, I’ve taken a simple orange and almond cake and fancied it up by adding some spices (vanilla, cardamon and cinnamon) and topping it with whipped cream, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate syrup. The result is a beautifully moist and fragrant cake which looks very pretty but is actually simple to prepare.
The cake itself is prepared by simply blending all of the ingredients together in a food processor. You really couldn’t get a simpler cake out of a packet. Once the cake is cool, sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, pomegranate syrup and icing sugar for an appropriately festive look. Pomegranate seeds always look so beautiful and a little dusting of icing sugar is a subtle nod to the traditionally snowy English Christmas.
This cake can be baked on Christmas Eve day and stored in an air-tight container for decoration on Christmas Day morning. Do refrigerate the cake after you’ve iced it, remembering to take it out of the fridge at least 10 minutes before serving for the best result.
Serve this cake with bowl of thick cream and a pot of tea as you relax and enjoy your Christmas Day. Seasons greetings!
- 2 oranges
- 250 grams almond meal
- 250 grams sugar (caster or brown)
- 6 eggs (room temperature is best)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean essence
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Seeds from one pomegranate
- 1-2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup (optional)
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- Put oranges in a small saucepan and completely cover with water.
- Bring to the boil and then simmer, uncovered, for an hour.
- Leave to cool and then cut in half and remove seeds.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
- In a food processor, blend oranges, almond, sugar, eggs, baking powder, vanilla, cardamon and cinnamon on high for four minutes until fully combined and a little fluffy.
- Pour into cake tin and then bake for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 160 degrees (to avoid burning) and bake the cake for a further 20 minutes or so or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Leave cake to cool in tin for 15 minutes and then gently turn cake out onto a baking rack to completely cool.
- Sprinkle over pomegranate seeds, syrup and icing sugar.