The citrus fruit is so lovely this time of year! Our grocery shelves are stocked with lovely oranges and lemons from Spain. It is the perfect time to make marmalade too . . . I have never made my own marmalade. I really should give it a go. I fear I would never be happy with store bought stuff again. I do love a nice piece of toast in the morning . . . spread with lots of butter and orange marmalade.
Any other time of the year I would not think of using precious oranges in cakes and the like, but at this time of year . . . when they are so abundant reasonably priced, I do love to indulge myself in this way.
This week I decided to bake us a lovely spiced orange cake, which was filled with lots of beautiful orange flavour . . . both from the juice and the finely grated zest . . . mixed with lots of cinnamon, cloves and ground cardamom. Just delightful!
I created a lovely icing sugar and cinnamon/orange glaze to spoon over top of the warm cake as it cooled. I like to do this on a rack placed over a large piece of foil. I keep scraping the glaze which over-runs the up with a spoon and spooning it over again . . . I don't want to waste even a fraction of all those lovely flavours.
And I think it makes the glaze look even more interesting in the process . . . but that may just be me. Do try not to over bake the cake . . you want it to keep all of that buttery moistness . . . You could add a bit of texture by stirring some juice plumped raisins into the batter. I'd just pour some warm orange juice, with maybe a touch of Cointreau over top of the raisins and let them stand for about 15 minutes to make them all plump and juicy . . .
Do feel free to frost with a spiced vanilla butter cream instead of the glaze if you wish . . . instead of . . . or even on top of the glaze. This also tastes lovely when sliced warm and served with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream, or even some softly whipped double cream.
It's just a simple cake . . .
I like simple things, don't you?? Quite often it is the simple things in life which bring us the most joy.
*Spiced Orange Cake*
Makes one 9 inch square cake
A good way to use up some of the oranges left from Christmas. Smells fabulous when it is baking.
170g of butter, softened (3/4 cup)
190g of golden caster sugar (1 cup)
2 large free range eggs
60ml vegetable oil (1/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
the finely grated zest of two well washed large oranges
60ml of orange juice
175g of plain flour (1 3/4 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
60ml orange juice (1/4 cup)
130g of sifted icing sugar (1 cup)
1/4 tsp cinnamon extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Butter a 9 inch square pan. Line with baking paper. Butter the paper. Set aside.
Cream the butter, orange zest and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the orange juice, oil and extracts. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Beat this into the creamed mixture in thirds, making sure it is smooth after each addition. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until risen, golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven. Let stand for five minutes before lifting out of the pan and onto a wire rack. Place the rack over a large piece of foil wrap. Whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Pour the glaze over top of the warm cake. In order not to waste too much of the glaze, I scraped it off the tin foil and kept spooning it over top of the cake. It made for a nice rustic look. Cut into squares to serve. Store in an airtight container.