Cumquats make the best marmalade, so I recently set a box of the fruit aside to make jam. However, an unseasonably warm weekend made me a bit impatient, and halfway through the slicing and pipping of the little orange orbs, I decided to turn them into a cake – a very happy outcome. A word of caution: don't use a cake tin with a removable base, as the sugar and cumquats form a caramel that will seep out onto the floor of your oven.
For the cumquats
160g raw castor sugar
For the batter
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g golden castor sugar
4 large eggs (at room temperature), lightly beaten
2 tsp brandy
120g self-raising flour
¼ tsp salt
140g almond meal
thickened cream, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 190C (180C fan-forced), and line the base and sides of a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper.
2. Remove any stalks from the cumquats, then cut in half (or thirds if they are large), de-seeding as you go. Place the sliced cumquats in a bowl, add the sugar and toss gently. Set aside while you prepare the cake batter.
3. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until lightened. Add the beaten egg mixture, a little at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl every now and again. The mixture may curdle a little, but don't worry, it will come together again. Add the brandy and beat until combined.
4. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then stir in the almond meal. With the speed of the mixer on medium-low, add the dry ingredients in three batches.
5. Tip the macerating sugared cumquats into the lined cake tin (including any juice and syrup) and use a spatula to spread the cumquats so that they are evenly distributed over the base of the tin. Scrape the cake batter gently over the top of the cumquats, smoothing over so that it is even.
6. Place in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes before inverting onto a cake platter – be careful, as there may be some hot cumquat syrup in the tin. Serve warm or at room temperature with thickened cream.
If you'd rather make cumquat marmalade, click here for Dan Lepard's tips.