Eight-minute chocolate orange cake

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What’s not to love about a cake that you can make entirely in one cake tin? Hardly any dishes and quick to boot.  Because, although I love to cook and bake, there are times when I am too greedy or impatient to fuss around.  If it’s delicious and you can get it in the oven in under ten minutes, count me in.

I have been fiddling around with this particular recipe for a few weeks now, having found myself in need of a cake on several occasions (mainly the delicious shared morning teas for which my workmates are justly famous, but also once or twice just NEEDING CAKE).

It is adapted from this recipe for six-minute chocolate cake, which I understand is an old Moosewood one.  And perhaps this is why I am particularly drawn to this notion, because I have an enduring soft spot for all things Moosewood. I think The Enchanted Broccoli Forest is one of the sweetest cookbook titles of all time.  I still rue the day I trustingly lent out my own lovely Moosewood Cookbook, never to be seen again.

I have called this recipe an eight-minute chocolate cake, as I don’t feel I can truthfully say it takes six minutes like its predecessor, since I ask that you zest an orange. But, I promise it’s still eight minutes-quick with a chocolatey, satisfying cake at the end that’s worth the orange zesting.  It’s also pretty easy to whip up, as most of the ingredients are generally in the pantry.  I like the little dash of ground almonds for the moist and grainy texture the give, but if you don’t have these to hand, just use an extra 1/4 cup flour instead of the almonds, and it still works a treat producing a slightly firmer cake.

You will need:

  • 1 & 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds (or, if you don’t fancy ground almonds, use 1 & 1/2 cups of plain flour)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1
 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 
cup brown sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 
cup coffee (cold)
  • 2 
teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 
tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

Preheat your oven to 190 celsius.

Put the flour, ground almonds (if using), cocoa, baking soda, salt, sugar and the orange zest into an ungreased 9 inch round cake tin and mix it together, breaking up any lumps.

Mix together the oil coffee and vanilla and add to the dry ingredients in the tin.  Mix the batter until smooth with a whisk or a fork.

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Add the vinegar and orange juice and stir quickly. You will see pale stripes in the batter – this is where the baking soda is reacting with the vinegar and orange juice.  Stir until the vinegar and juice is just distributed through the batter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Set aside the cake to cool.

It’s tasty dusted with a little icing sugar and served with whipped cream.  Or, as I have done in the picture, it responds well to a hearty dose of chocolate icing.

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Edmonds Cookbook ANZAC biscuits

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It is indeed a happy accident, that my arrival at ANZAC biscuits in the Edmonds Cook Book as I head forth in my self-imposed Edmonds Challenge has coincided so closely with ANZAC Day.

ANZAC Day always puts me in mind of Aud and Reg, my Granma and Grandad on my Dad’s side.  Along with many others, my grandparents were part of World War II. Grandad went away with the Royal Air Force, and Granma was a WAF.  The milk bottle in the picture above was once theirs, and I used it in a little homage to them.

Here’s a photo of Aud and Reg below; I think from my Grandad’s cryptic title (“four years ‘ard labour”) and the pile of paper in front of them, they are sitting in front of all of the letters they exchanged while Grandad was abroad.  He looks rather Don Draper, although that’s where the comparison ends…he was a most morally upstanding man and a teetotaller to boot.

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ANZAC biscuits enjoy a historical pedigree dating back to World War I, where their ancestor-biscuits of oats, golden syrup, sugar and four were sold at fetes and galas at home to raise money for the troops.  After Gallipoli the term ANZAC was born, and the ANZAC biscuit followed, first appearing in a cook book in 1921.

It is of course unthinkable that Edmonds, holding its bible-like status in the New Zealand baking canon, would not have a recipe for ANZAC biscuits, and indeed I, personally, would not use any other.  So without further ado, see below for Edmonds’ ANZAC biscuit recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 rolled oats
  • 50g butter
  • 1 T golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 T boiling water

Heat the oven to180 degrees Celsius. Mix together the flour, sugar, coconut in a large-ish bowl.  Melt together the golden syrup and butter (I did this in a little dish in the microwave).  Dissolve the baking soda into the water and add it to the butter and syrup.  It will bubble and fizz in an awesome kind of way.

Mix the butter mixture with the dry ingredients and place tablespoonfuls on a cold, greased tray.  I must confess I used a cookie cutter to shape them; I’m sure this is not authentic, but I had some new cutters and I was looking for a chance to use them. Bake for 15 minutes or until they are golden and crispy.

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