Today’s recipe comes from Nigella Kitchen (Hyperion), the latest collection of recipes for “homey holiday cooking” from the British domestic goddess Nigella Lawson. Try this traditional English dessert as the comforting finale to a cozy fall meal.
Marmalade Pudding Cake
Now, this is a beauty. I don’t mean flash or fancy—rather the opposite; there is something austerely handsome about its appearance, and yet gorgeously warming about its taste. But then, this laid-back Sunday-lunch pudding is what kitchen food is all about. I’m happy to leave the picture-perfect plate-decoration dessert to the professional chef and patissier. When I want to eat one, I’ll go to a restaurant. That way, everyone’s happy.
I don’t want to be too prescriptive about this marmalade pudding cake—which has the surprisingly light texture of a steamed sponge—as it doesn’t seem in the spirit of things. I love the bitter edge of a thick-shred, dark marmalade and so tend to go for a proper, glamorously auburn, tawny one here; if this is too full-on for you, choose a fine-shred marmalade, instead.
2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2/3 cup marmalade, plus 1/3 cup for the glaze
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest and juice of 1 orange (reserve juice of ½ orange for the glaze)
1 x 8-inch square Pyrex or other ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and butter the ovenproof dish.
Put the 1/3 cup marmalade and juice of ½ orange into a small saucepan and set aside to make a glaze later.
Put all the other ingredients for the cake batter into a food processor, process them, and then pour and scrape the batter into the buttered dish, smoothing the top. If you’re not using a processor, cream the butter and both sugars by hand or in a freestanding mixer, beat in the marmalade followed by the dry ingredients, then the eggs, and finally the orange zest and juice.
Put in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes – though give a first check after 30 minutes – by which time the cake mixture will have risen and a cake tester will come out cleanish. Remove from the oven and leave in the dish.
Warm the glaze mixture in the saucepan until melted together, then paint the top of the cake, letting the chunks or slivers of peel be your sole, unglinting decoration on top of the mutely gleaming pudding-cake. Know that this cake will keep its orange-scented warmth for quite a while once out of the oven, so you could make it before you sit down for the main course.
Use a large spoon or cake slice (or both) to serve, and put a pitcher of cream or crème anglaise on the table to eat with.
I urge you to try to keep some of this cake back and, once it’s cold, wrap it well and keep it in the freezer (in an airtight container for up to 1 month) until you need something effortless for a casual dinner party. All you need do (and see p.171 for exact measurements and step-by-simple-step guide) is to thaw for 3–4 hours at room temperature, arrange some slices on a plate, douse with orange juice and liqueur, and top with blackberries strewn with orange zest [and you have an orange-blackberry trifle].
But I admit it’s hard to override the temptation to keep (for up to 2 days in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap) whatever pudding-cake may be left from its first outing and heat up the odd bowlful, or just eat it cold straight from the dish.
From Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Photographs by Lis Parsons. Copyright (C) 2010 Nigella Lawson. Photographs copyright (C) 2010 Lis Parsons. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.