If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Clarks Maple Syrups. I adore maple syrup but used to consider it a luxury product that I would ‘treat’ myself to now and then. That changed when I discovered Clarks Original Maple Syrup, which is a blend of maple and carob syrups. It has that delicious, rich maple flavour but it’s cheaper than pure maple syrup.
If you’d like to find out a bit more about this syrup and its benefits as a sweetener compared to cane sugar, check out this short video by Bob Clark, the Founder and Managing Director. I didn’t know that the syrup was diabetic-friendly until I watched this!
Rather than an occasional treat, maple syrup is now used every day in our household for drizzling on porridge, overnight oats and pancakes, and for sweetening smoothies, no-bake desserts and treats (including those scrumptious cashew cream cakes )
I’ve also started using the Clarks syrups in my baked goods, including one of my family’s all-time favourite treats: Orange and Almond Cake. This is one of the most popular recipes on my blog and I’m loving hearing all the variations that readers have tried on the original recipe.
Lately, I’ve been baking this cake in sandwich tins and filling it with an orange and cashew cream frosting. I usually run a mile from frosting as I find it sickly sweet and greasy, but I love this alternative version which I created taking inspiration from my cashew cream cakes. It not only tastes yummy, but it’s healthy and nutritious too! Now there’s two words that you wouldn’t normally associate with frosting!
Just in case you’d like to give it a try yourself, here’s how I make it:
Orange and Almond Sandwich Cake with Orange Cashew Cream Frosting
Hands on time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes Chill time: 1 hour
Ready in: 2 hours
Orange and Almond Cake
280g / 10 oz / 2 cups fine wholemeal (wholewheat pastry) flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ tsp salt
50g / 1¾ oz / ½ cup ground almonds (almond meal)
44g / 1½ oz / ½ cup desiccated coconut
100ml / 3½ fl oz / ½ cup rapeseed (canola) oil
180ml / 6¼ fl oz/ ¾ cup soya milk (or other non-dairy milk)
200ml / 7 fl oz / 2/3 cup maple syrup
60ml / 2 fl oz / ¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
zest of 1 orange, finely chopped
3 TBSP flaked almonds, lightly toasted (for decoration)
1. Preheat the oven to 170C / 325F / Gas 3. Grease 2 x 18-20 cm / 7–8 inch sandwich tins and line the bottom with non-stick baking paper.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl. If the wheat flakes are too large to be sifted, whizz them to a fine powder in a food processor. Stir in the ground almonds and desiccated coconut.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rapeseed (canola) oil, milk, maple syrup, orange juice, vanilla extract, almond extract, and orange zest. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl, and stir until the batter is smooth (but do not over mix). Pour the batter into the prepared tins.
4. Bake the cakes for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool completely.
5. Remove the cakes from the tins and chill them in the refrigerator until the frosting is ready. Decorate with frosting, assemble and sprinkle some toasted flaked almonds on top.
6. This cake will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator, or for weeks in the freezer. If you slice the cake before freezing, you can defrost portions, as and when needed.
Orange Cashew Cream Frosting
100g / 3½ oz / ¾ cup raw cashews
3 TBSP maple syrup
2 TBSP orange juice
zest of 1 orange
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 TBSP virgin coconut oil, liquefied
Few drops of orange extract (optional, enhances the orangey flavour)
1. Place the cashews in a small saucepan, cover with water and boil for 15 minutes. Drain in a sieve and run cold water on top to cool them down. Shake the sieve to remove all the water.
2. Tip the cashews into a food processor or powerful high speed blender along with the syrup, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract. Process for a few minutes until the cashews are completely grinded into a creamy mixture, stopping now and then to scrape down the bowl. Add the liquefied coconut oil and orange extract (if using) and continue blending until the mixture is completely smooth (taste test to check for smoothness).
3. Scoop the frosting into a freezer-safe container about 16 x 10 cm (6 x 4 inches) in size (I use a plastic take-away tub). Spread the frosting evenly within the container and freeze for ½ – ¾ hour, until it has firmed up. Once the frosting has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to five days. If you accidentally leave the frosting in the freezer too long, simply transfer it back into the food processor, add 1-2 TBSP orange juice and process until you reach a spreadable consistency.
If you wish to skip the frosting altogether, you can sprinkle almonds on one of the cakes prior to baking (for the topping) and use apricot fruit spread (e.g. St Dalfour) as the filling. This version is delicious too!
Products I used in this recipe
Chapatti Flour (a super fine, very cheap wholemeal flour, which I use for all my baking)
East End Desiccated Coconut (from the world food aisle in Tesco)
Tesco Organic Rapeseed Oil
Clarks Original Maple Syrup, available from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s supermarkets and Amazon
Natco Cashew Kernels (from the world food aisle in Tesco)
Essential Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil (I buy mine from my local Harvest health food store, but it’s also available online).
Magimix 3200 Food Processor
I haven’t made a gluten-free version of this cake yet. If you make one yourself, please do let me know how you get on.
It makes me so happy when I’m able to give away products that I love, and today I’ve got one fantastic giveaway for you
The kind people over at Clarks have given me a set of 4 Maple Syrups to give away on my blog. The lucky winner will receive one each of the following:
Clarks Pure Maple Syrup No 1 (Medium Grade) 180 ml
Clarks Maple Syrup No 2 (Amber Grade) 180 ml
Clarks Original Maple Syrup blended with Carob fruit syrup 180 ml
Clarks Vanilla Maple Syrup Blended with Carob fruit syrup 180 ml
This giveaway is being run using Rafflecopter. If you haven’t used Rafflecopter before, a short video demonstration can be found here. It’s pretty easy… you simply ‘log in’ by entering a name and email address (which won’t be published anywhere) or via Facebook, then you follow the instructions.
The main way to enter the giveaway is to leave me a comment below, answering the question featured in the Rafflecopter. Make sure you tick the box in the Rafflecopter to register that you have done so!
There are a number of additional ways you can enter in order to increase your chances of winning. You will find these listed in the Rafflecopter. All entries will be verified prior to the winner being selected.
The giveaway is open to UK residents only (sorry international friends!)
The closing date is Sunday 29th September 2013 at midnight GMT.
Good luck everyone!
Please note: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links – if you click on the link and purchase something I will receive a small percentage from Amazon which will goes towards the development of Bit of the Good Stuff. Thanks in advance!