Orange, Rhubarb and Pomegranate cake- Gluten Free
Since this orange, rhubarb and pomegranate cake takes a couple of hours and a lot of ingredients, I reckon it’s best for a special occasion for a lot of people and worth making a big one. I served it for a family lunch for 12, and since it’s very moist and squashy – as much a pud as a cake – I dished it up with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
It’s gluten free. If anyone is highly allergic you need to make sure the baking powder doesn’t contain wheat flour.
For the cake:
1 large orange
1 cinnamon stick
300g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
7 large eggs
225g soft brown sugar
Few drops almond essence
Oil for greasing tin
For the syrup and topping:
4 sticks rhubarb
100g castor sugar
Juice of one orange
1 large pomegranate
For the glaze:
3 heaped tablespoons apple or quince jelly, or smooth apricot jam
Juice of half a lemon
Mascarpone, clotted cream or Greek yogurt
Put the whole orange and cinnamon stick into a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer for 1/½ hours, then drain and allow the orange to cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile line a deep 23cm cake tin and brush it out with oil. Set the oven to Fan oven 180°C/350° F.
Mix the ground almonds with the baking powder.
When the orange is cool enough to handle, cut it in half across the equator, remove any seeds and then puree it, skin and all, in a processor or liquidiser.
Break the eggs into a large heatproof bowl that will fit snugly over a saucepan filled with an inch of water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Add the sugar and whisk with a hand-held electric whisk over gently bubbling water for seven minutes until the mix is pale and mousse-like and will leave a ribbon-like trail when the whisk is lifted.
Remove the bowl from the heat and gently fold in the almonds and with the baking powder, the almond essence and the orange puree.
Tip into the cake tin, smooth the top and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 170°C/325°F and bake for a further 30 minutes or until a skewer stuck into the middle of the cake will come out clean. Then take it out and allow to cool in the tin.
Meanwhile prepare the syrup and topping: Cut the rhubarb into 1/½cm pieces and put them into a baking dish or roasting pan in a single layer. Sprinkle on the sugar and then the orange juice, making sure you wet the sugar. Put in the oven on the shelf under the cake taking care to be quick about it and not slam the oven door as this cold air or a sudden draught could cause your cake to sink or rise unevenly. Bake the rhubarb for 15 – 25 minutes until just cooked. Remove from the oven, being (being quick and gentle again!). Carefully lift the pieces of rhubarb onto a plate. Put the juices into a saucepan and boil down until you have a sticky syrup.
Halve the pomegranate and break it up so you can rub or prize the seeds from the pith. I do this under water in a bowl: the pith floats to the top, the seeds sink to the bottom, and you don’t get the juice and seeds over you and the floor. Use a sieve to skim the pith from the surface of the water. Then drain the pomegranate seeds and tip them onto kitchen paper to dry.
To make the glaze, put the jam or jelly and lemon juice into a small pan and stir gently while slowly heating until melted and smooth.
When the cake is still just warm carefully remove it from the tin and turn it upside down, on a cake board or plate.
Spoon the warm syrup all over it and allow it to soak in. Let it cool completely, then arrange the rhubarb pieces side by side to make a border round the top and fill the centre with the drained pomegranate seeds. Using a spoon, coat the surface with the glaze.