A foodie guide to what's hot in Devon



Now I do like a piece of cake. My particular favourite has to be a gooey chocolate sponge with fresh raspberries and lashings of clotted cream – well we are in Devon! Hubby’s cake of choice is always Coffee & Walnut and we both agree that you can’t go far wrong with a good home-made Victoria Sponge – particularly if baked by someone in the WI.

Cake making is a bit of a family tradition. I remember making Teisen Lap (a welsh fruit cake traditionally baked on a dinner plate) with my nan when I was knee high to a grasshopper and mam used to make the most amazing novelty birthday cakes. Forts made out of chocolate fingers, princess castles adorned with sugar lumps and her speciality – a rustic wicker effect basket packed with brightly coloured flowers – all made out of icing of course. She also made my beautiful wedding cake.

Over the years I too have dabbled with novelty cakes mainly for friends birthdays but did on a couple of occasions agree to make cupcakes for a wedding. Unfortunately this idea came to an abrupt end when on driving a car full of cakes to a wedding in Plymouth I was rear ended by a large van and watched in horror as all the boxes of cakes shunted forward at an alarming speed. I didn’t dare look at them until I got there by which time I was a nervous wreck. Thankfully they were mostly OK but the Cupcake Queen hung up her pinny that day ….

There’s something quite satisfying about a leisurely morning spent in the kitchen immersing yourself in a world of flour and sugar to emerge with a tantalising home-baked cake. But sometimes you just don’t have the time (or the energy) to attempt anything fancy and this is where my Orange & Almond Cake comes in. Once you have done the initial orange prep, the cake is but a moments work. I can’t even remember where this recipe came from – so sorry if it’s yours … but once you’ve tried it you will come back to it again and again …

Orange & Almond Cake Ingredients

  • 2 large oranges
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs – lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Orange & Almond Cake Method

  1. Wash and then boil the oranges (unpeeled) for about 1 and 1/2 hours in a pan full of water – keep an eye on it as you want to try and keep the oranges fully covered at all times, and you certainly don’t want it to boil dry. When the oranges are soft take them out of the water and leave to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 160C (fan).
  3. Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin.
  4. Cut each orange up into about 4 bits (take out the pips if you can) and place in a food processor. Blitz to a puree.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and blitz again until everything has been incorporated.
  6. Pour into your prepared tin and bake for anywhere between 40 and 60 mins. The cooking time will depend on the wetness of the mixture. Pop a bit of foil on top of the cake if it is browning too much.
  7. Make a quick syrup using 50g sugar, 50 g orange juice or water plus a splash of orange liqueur if you have any hanging around!
  8. Make holes in the top of the still warm cake with a skewer and the dribble over the syrup. Leave to cool in the tin before removing.
  9. This cake looks lovely topped and decorated with edible flowers. Alternatively some fresh fruit looks nice or keep it simple and just dredge with a bit of icing sugar.