As promised because a lot of you lovely readers liked my gdfree Facebook page last week and took me over 100 likes (thank you very much!!) I made my Celebration Chocolate Orange cake again, but this time I turned it into cake bars. Mostly so I could cut it up easily and put it in a tupperware to give away to my friends!
I had visions of me standing in the playground on monday handing them out to hoards of school mums but then…..my kids got ill. I swear we haven’t had a week when we’ve all been well since way back into last year. I don’t know if it’s just us, or if it’s because I have too many children perhaps (?!), but we have really been suffering recently. Chest infections, ear infections, then two down with chickenpox, viral infections, sinus infections and stomach bugs. I tell you, living in my family is a total joy.
My only respite is my time in the kitchen. I don’t know why I find it so therapeutic but I really do. Maybe I’m strange.
It’s almost like therapy….I can switch off from everything that I’m supposed to be doing or worrying about doing (laundry, mending, ironing probably) and instead I put all my energies into coming up with interesting recipes and creating things. I’m a creative person in all aspects of life I suppose but there’s something about standing in front of a cupboard or the fridge and just picking things out and making something from scratch. It’s a good feeling. I don’t know how many of you are keen home cooks or perhaps you can’t stand being in the kitchen, I know mum friends who go both ways, but I hope if there’s a recipe that you’ll try then it might be this one. It’s so worth it honestly! Now I sound like a L’Oréal advert.
So I thought I’d post a version of the recipe which allows you to make a smaller batch of this cake and turns them into cake bars – apart from the part where you have to simmer the clementines for an hour, this recipe will only take you 30mins or so.
These cake bars are moist, sweet and tangy with orange and the dark chocolate chunks seem even more gooey and delicious than I remember.
Ground almonds are the key ingredient for helping them retain moisture and actually, as the days go by and they sit happily in their tupperware box, they sort of get better and better. I’ve been thinking about how I could make these nut free but I think it’s going to take a lot of experimenting to successfully replace the almonds. In the meantime, if you don’t have a problem with nuts then go ahead and make a batch of these and let me know how they turn out.
Of course if you’re feeling ambitious then do try the original cake, the following recipe is half of the ingredients of the cake which makes a large baking tray’s worth of slices.
Chocolate Orange Cake Bars
You will need this:
- 5 small clementines
- 2tbsp melted 100% veg butter
- 100g chopped dark choc into small chunks
- 100g ground almonds
- 60g polenta
- 30g ground hazlenuts/cashews
- 150g caster sugar
- 1tsp baking powder
- Orange drench: juice of 2 clementines mixed with 2tbsp sugar, warm on the heat till dissolved
- Chocolate drizzle: melt 50g dark choc with 1tbsp coconut oil
You make it like this:
- Put the whole clementines into a saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer 1 hour until soft
- Remove the little hard stalk bits and then put them into a food processor (whole) and blitz
- Melt the butter in the microwave and then add to the orange pulp whilst in the blender
- Beat the eggs on high speed until light and creamy and then slowly add to the melted butter and orange pulp mix
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl: ground almonds, polenta, hazelnuts or cashews, sugar & baking powder
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet
- Lastly stir through the choc chunks
- Pour mixture into a large rectangular lined baking tray and bake at 180c for 20-25mins until golden and slightly browned on top
- Remove from oven and whilst cake is still warm in the tin, pierce all over with a skewer and pour the orange drench over the top
- Leave to cool before turning out and cutting into bars
- Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top using a fine tipped icing bottle