I love orange and lemon cakes, so fresh and light and summery. I often make St Clement's Drizzle cake which goes down a treat but actually have never made a straight Orange cake and saw this recipe in my Primrose Bakery cook book and gave it a go today. It is delicious, just a light orange flavour, and the orange buttercream icing is good enough to eat
225g unsalted butter, at room temp.
225g golden caster sugar
Zest of 1 small orange
4 large eggs, free-range or organic
225g self-raising flour, sifted
Preheat your oven to 180/gas mark 4 (160 for my fan oven). Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich cake tins and line the base of each.
To make the sponge cream the butter, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl. If you have an electric hand mixer if you can (if not, put it on your Christmas list). I could not live without mine personally, even though it is my Mum's ancient one, saves time and effort. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. If the mixture curdles a little, add some of the flour. Gradually add more flour until it's all in, beating well, but not for too long.
Divide the mixture into your 2 tins evenly as you can (I like to weigh them as best I can) and smooth tops with a spatula. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes (mine were done at 20 minutes but obviously ovens vary) until they are raised and golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of one of the cakes. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 mins then turn out to a wire rack to cool completely.
Then for your buttercream...
125g unsalted butter
15ml freshly squeezed orange juice (1tblsp)
150g icing sugar, sifted
Zest of 1/2 small orange
Beat the butter, orange juice and half the icing sugar together in a bowl. Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar along with the orange zest and beat until smooth.
Then for the glaze...
200g icing sugar, sifted
2tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
Gently pour the orange juice into a bowl containing your icing sugar and beat on a low speed with an electric mixer. The glaze should be of a slightly runny, liquid consistency.
To assemble the cake, spread the top of 1 cake with the buttercream, place the other on top, then pour the glaze carefully and evenly over the top of the cake allowing some of it to run over the sides. The book says and displays their lovely cake with orange zest on top to decorate. I tried, but failed to grate some lovely strips of orange zest as they have and ended up with silly zest-y bits on top. I then tried to make up for my failure with some orange dibbles around the edge which looked OK except they break your teeth those things! Next time I would probably put some orange slices on top perhaps or even some flaked almonds maybe which go really well with orange.
The cake doesn't keep for long, best eaten on the day of baking but if somehow you don't manage that, I'd keep it in the fridge but do let it come to room temp. before finishing off. It doesn't taste as nice straight from the fridge (we were impatient!).
I will definitely be making this again. It sounds maybe at the outset that it may take a while with the buttercream and glaze to make but don't let that put you off, they were both really quick and easy to make. Worth the result.