Cooking Onboard II

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Bessie Ellen's owner Nikki Alford gives Classic Yacht TV a lesson in baking while at sea - as you will be able to tell! Using a recipe from the Polpo restaurants in London, this Orange and Almond cake is now a firm favourite for those who sail the Bessie Ellen, a west country trading ketch that charters around Britain, Ireland, Scotland, and Europe.

Nikki is a foodie, but she's also running this charter boat with realistic goals; not everyone eats everything however parties do want to relish each meal served on board. The food on board Bessie Ellen must be designed to be kind to the cook, using a sensible amount of gas, incorporating local produce and not always using run-of-the-mill, everyday recipe ideas but food that tastes good and inspires people.

This particular recipe uses a moderate amount of gas, but on the other hand no flour so it is a great wheat free treat for those concerned. (An oven is essential!)

2 oranges
100g brown sugar
400g caster sugar
6 medium free range eggs
250g ground almonds
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
Zest and juice of one orange
Mascarpone / cream for serving the cake

Firstly, two small or medium oranges need to be brought to the boil and simmered for 1.5 / 2 hours to create a soft fruit and flavoured liquid ready to be set aside for making the syrup later.

Take 400g white caster sugar, 100g brown sugar - mix together and then blend in or whisk 6 eggs in until the whole mixture is light and fluffy.

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas mark 4.

Those cooled oranges need to be cut into chunks, dropped into the mixture. Then blend until smooth, add 250g of ground almonds along with the one and a half teaspoon of baking powder. Whiz, blend into the mixutre.

Grease a 26cm cake tin with oil, line with parchment, and once you've got a smooth mixture pour in to the tin. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 – 1.5 hours testing the cake with a skewer.

To make the syrup; take the water originally used to boil the oranges, adding more water to make up a total amount of liquid of 750ml. Add remaining caster sugar, the zest of a fresh orange – then cut that orange and squeeze its juice into the water. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes, being mindful that the liquid will thicken in the cooling process, once taken off the heat.

Take the cooked, cooled cake and drizzle the cool syrup over the top of the cake, letting it soak through. Serve the cake with cream or mascarpone.

That's making us hungry just thinking about it! Enjoy this cake ashore, on board and don't forget to check out Bessie Ellen here: