We are excited to be able to share this recipe with you, to celebrate the publication of The Secret of Spice by Tonia Buxton. As the title suggests, spices are at the heart of all the recipes – which are designed not only to make you feel great, but also to taste delicious. Inspiration indeed!
2 large oranges (zest and juice)
250g dried pitted dates, chopped
200g butter, softened
150g light muscovado sugar
4 medium eggs
250g spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
seeds from 10 cardamom pods, crushed
100g ground almonds
50g pistachios, bashed
a pinch of salt
1 small orange, finely sliced, to decorate
4 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1. Line the base of a 21cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper.
Set aside 2 tbsp of the orange juice and a little of the zest, then place the rest in a small saucepan with the dates and heat for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Using an electric whisk, beat the butter and light muscovado sugar together in a bowl for 3 minutes until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding 1 tbsp of the flour to stop it from curdling. Fold in the remaining flour, the baking powder, cardamom seeds, ground almonds, pistachios and a pinch of salt.
Stir in the cooled dates and juice mixture, then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Level the surface and decoratively lay the orange slices on the surface of the cake mixture. Bake for 1 hour 50 minutes–2 hours or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cover with foil if the top of the cake is browning too much during cooking. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
When the cake has cooled completely, mix the reserved orange juice and zest and the icing sugar together to make an icing. Drizzle over the cake and serve.