This weekend I underwent the upheaval of moving house. It wasn’t until I started packing my kitchen paraphernalia into boxes, that I realised just how much ‘stuff’ I’ve amassed in the last few years. My siblings looked on in horror as they realised the mammoth task they’d volunteered themselves for in the name of family support and loyalty 🙂 My sister was particularly perplexed when she came across the 4 bags full of empty jam jars that I’d had stashed under my bed. “Why on earth do you need so many jam jars?”, she asked, to which I reasoned that I never knew when the urge to make some jam or chutney may strike and if there were no jars to hand when that time arose, I’d be seething! I somehow managed to win that battle and as a result am still trying to find a jam jar shaped space for them in my new home…I’m just going to have to get preserving!
I’m not a big fan of moving house as it leaves me feeling all out of sorts. However, I seem to have developed a good coping mechanism…to abandon the unpacking of my room, to get the KitchenAid mixer out and get baking. After all, I had to check the oven was fit for purpose…right?
So I set about making an orange and white chocolate sponge…
I followed a recipe from my BBC Good Food ‘101 teatime treats’ book.
To make this delicious light and delicately fruity sponge with a creamy but tangy topping you need…
175g butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
Zest of 4 oranges and juice of 1
4 eggs, separated
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line 2 x 8 inch (20cm) cake tins with greaseproof paper.
Beat the sugar with the butter and orange zest until light and fluffy. Then beat the egg yolks into the mix. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently. The mixture will look a bit stiff but panic not, just fold in the orange juice and the ground almonds and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they hold their shape. Finally fold the fluffy egg whites into the rest of your cake batter. Handle with care so that you retain as much air in your batter as possible thus producing a perfectly, light sponge cake!
Divide the mixture between the cake tins, level the top and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. I checked mine after just 25, which was sufficient for my new oven, whose performance I was monitoring closely. Your cakes should be golden brown and spring back when pressed gently on top. To be sure, you can insert a skewer into the middle and if it comes out clean it’s ready.
Leave them to cool in their tins for a few minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing you need…
200g white chocolate
200ml crème fraiche
Chocolate curls to serve (optional)
I made my chocolate curls by using a vegetable peeler to gently shave the side of one of my bars of chocolate before I melted it (obviously). The chocolate needs to be room temperature for this to work. Once you’ve managed to produce a few chocolate shavings, pop them on a plate in the fridge so that they retain their shape and don’t end up as a sorry melted mess before you’ve managed to get them atop your sponge.
The recipe said to melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, which is how I would usually do it, however, I realised that amongst my ridiculous amount of kitchen equipment, I don’t have a bowl of the correct size for this job (*must add to kitchen essentials shopping list) so I used the microwave (eek!) if you too are lacking in the bowl department and need to use the microwave then just take it easy…zap it for 15-20 second bursts, removing it at each interval to give it a good stir. Once it’s all melted, set it aside to cool.
Whip the crème fraiche until thick before folding in the chocolate. Use some of this divine mixture to sandwich your cakes together. Then spread the remainder generously over the top. Now test your willpower and put it in the fridge for at least an hour to chill before topping it with your chocolate curls and tucking in!
I think I’m going to need a bit more practice to properly acquaint myself with my new oven (what a shame ;))…my first attempt turned out pretty well but I wrote this blog whilst watching the Great British Bake Off final…and delicious as it was I’m not sure it’d stand the Mary Berry test!