Tag Archives: orange

Orange cake with zingy orange buttercream filling & an orange glaze…

Sometimes the simple cakes are the best…here’s one I made recently using my classic Victoria sponge recipe but putting a little orangey spin on it with inspiration from The Primrose Bakery Book. Behold my orange sponge with zingy orange buttercream filling and an orange glaze…

To make the cake you need…

350g unsalted butter, softened

350g caster sugar

6 eggs

350g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

Zest of 2 oranges

Splash of milk

For the zingy buttercream filling you need…

125g unsalted butter, softened

150g icing sugar, sifted

1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

zest of half an orange

and finally for the orange glaze to top your cake off you need…

200g icing sugar, sifted

2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (180 if not a fan) and grease and line the bases of 2 x 8 inch cake tins.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs along with a little of the sifted flour and baking powder, so that that mixture doesn’t curdle. Add the remaining flour and baking powder and mix well.

Stir in the orange zest. At this point you need to use your judgement and if you feel that the cake mixture’s looking a bit thick, add a splash of milk until it’s smooth and of thick dropping consistency.

Divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins as evenly as possibly, level the tops and pop them in the oven.

Check on your cakes after 30 minutes by inserting a skewer into the centre of them, if it comes out clean it’s ready, if not, pop them back in and check them after another 5 minutes.

As a slight aside, I recently invested in an oven thermometer and it’s changed my life! That sounds rather melodramatic but to be honest it’s definitely been worth the £5 (ish) investment. It turns out that my oven is 10 degrees hotter than the dial would have me believe and as well acquainted as I am with it, I know that the back left hand corner is hotter than the rest. I think this is a good time to say…my name’s Jo and I’m a baking addict 🙂

Right, back to the orange cake…when you’re happy that it’s cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. 

To make the orange buttercream icing sift the icing sugar into a big bowl and add the softened butter, orange juice and zest, prepare yourself for the inevitable icing sugar snow storm and beat well until smooth and fluffy.

To make the orange glaze simply add the orange juice to the icing sugar and stir well until lump free.

Now, it’s time to get assembling…sandwich the cakes together with the buttercream and top with the glaze, it’s as easy as that!…

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Upheaval & an orange and white chocolate sponge…

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!

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They’re not Terry’s…they’re my chocolate orange cupcakes…

If you’re a Terry’s chocolate orange fan, you’ll absolutely love these cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery ‘Cake Days’ book…

The added bonus being that you don’t need to battle with the sphere of chocolatey orange goodness to enjoy the taste! Is it just me or is it ridiculously difficult to segment a chocolate orange in a ladylike fashion?

To make your own chocolate orange cupcakes you’ll need…

70g unsalted butter, softened

210g caster sugar

105g soft light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp finely grated orange zest

255g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

240ml whole milk

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and line a cupcake tin (or two) with cupcake cases. This recipe is quite generous, it made me 16 cupcakes.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, followed by the zest and vanilla extract.

Sift the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) into the butter and sugar mixture on a slow speed, alternating with the milk until everything is incorporated. Then give it a medium speed whizz until smooth.

Fill the cupcake cases with the cake batter until they are two thirds full, don’t be tempted to overfill them or your cupcakes will end up with an unsightly ‘muffin top’!

Bake them in the oven for about 18 minutes or until the sponge springs back when pressed gently. I always err on the side of undercooking as opposed to overcooking and checked mine after about 15 minutes.

Once you’re happy that they’re cooked, remove them from the oven and leave to cool before frosting. 

For the frosting you need…

600g icing sugar

100g unsalted butter, softened

250g full fat cream cheese

60g cocoa powder

3 tsp finely grated orange zest

The recipe suggested using some candied orange peel, thinly sliced for decoration. Needless to say my local Tesco didn’t stock such a delicacy so I just did without.

Whisk the icing sugar and butter (try popping your butter into the microwave in a bowl for 30 seconds first) in an electric mixer on a slow speed until it has the consistency of coarse sand and there aren’t any big lumps lurking. Add the cream cheese and cocoa powder and turn the speed up to medium, mixing until the frosting is smooth and light. Finally stir in the orange zest by hand.

Smooth the chocolate orange frosting onto your cupcakes with a palette knife and if you were lucky enough to find candied orange peel you can use it to adorn each one. I hope that you’ll agree that they look sufficiently tempting without! 🙂

I didn’t think such a small amount of orange zest would provide such a delicious orangey taste…and as with all Hummingbird Bakery recipes…they are moist, light and deliciously more-ish!…


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‘a taste of the sun on toast’

Last year I found this article by Nigel Slater, unfortunately at the time of reading it I’d missed the Seville orange season by just a few weeks. I stashed it away in my memory banks until a couple of days ago, which happened to fall perfectly in the middle of my window of Seville marmalade making opportunity! I love Nigels infectiously passionate way of writing about food, it always compels me to roll up my sleeves and get busy in the kitchen. So this weekend I decided to do just that and pop my marmalade making cherry, or should that be orange!

Nigel’s recipe calls for 12 Seville oranges and 2 lemons…

Scrub them really well in case they’ve been sprayed with any nasties, then score them into quarters from top to bottom (not piercing the flesh) and peel off the rind…

Shred the rind into thin strips. I found this job quite enjoyable with the aid of some good tunes and a sharp knife. I opted for a medium cut marmalade (it would have been fine but my knife skills aren’t up to much and I got a bit distracted by the music I was listening to :)) If you prefer yours chunky just cut thicker slices…

Put the peel into a large pot. Squeeze the juice from the fruit into a measuring jug but don’t throw away the pips, flesh and pith!

Make the juice up to 4 litres with cold water and pour into the pot with the peel. Tie the fleshy leftovers in a muslin bundle and submerge it in the pot…

Cover the pot and leave it in a cool place overnight to infuse.

The next day bring the juice and the peel to the boil… 

Once boiling, turn it down to a simmer and leave it bubbling away until the peel is soft and transluscent. Nigel says that this can take anything from 40 minutes to an hour and a half but mine only needed 30 minutes to reach the perfect texture.

Remove the muslin bag of goodies and set it aside to cool.

At this point you add 1.25kg unrefined golden granulated sugar and turn up the heat.

As soon as the muslin bundle is cool enough to handle you need to squeeze every last drop of goodness out of the orange innards. The viscous liquid that came out had the delightful consistency of snot, which made for a bit of a weird sensation. But this magic goo is very important as it’s laden with masses of natural pectin, which helps the marmalade to set.

You need to bring the marmalade to a rolling boil and regularly skim off any froth that rises to the surface, otherwise your preserve will end up cloudy. This part of the whole process is definitely the most time consuming. I watched my boiling pot like a hawk wanting to make sure that I caught it at the exact point that it reached setting consistency. Nigel recommends boiling it initially for a good 15 minutes and then testing it by spooning a tablespoon of marmalade onto a plate and putting it in the fridge for a few minutes. If a thick skin forms on the surface of the chilled marmalade…it’s ready. If not, then keep it boiling and repeat the test every 10-15 minutes.

I had to exercise some real patience (not my strong point) as my marmalade took its own sweet time to reach setting point…a pot watching, froth skimming, nail biting 70 minutes! quite a bit longer than Nigel’s worst case scenario of 50 minutes.

But the gorgeous deep, rich preserve I was left with was worth every second…

Spoon the marmalade straight into sterilised jars and seal them immediately…

I resisted the strong urge to slather it straight into some toast and made myself seal every jar and wait until the marmalade was fully set before sampling it for the first time.

In the words of Mr Nigel Slater “here it is, a little pot of bright, shining happiness, full of bittersweet flavour and stinging thumbs”…

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