Thursday, 28 November 2019

Whole orange cake

It was my Dad's birthday recently. In my family we have a fondness for orange cakes. My mum routinely made this one for celebrations and it's perfect. But I can't help feel that in her zeal to use every last bit of a piece of fruit, she might have been tempted by this recipe, from American lifestyle magazine stalwart Sunset. It uses all of the orange - well, not the pips - but the rest of it, blended up into a purée. 

No need for boiling beforehand, as per Middle-eastern orange cake, just chop the fresh fruit roughly and blitz in a food processor. It's not as sweet as a cake made with just zest and juice, more complex in flavour and texture. Notes of bitterness and flecks of fruit lend a sophistication to something so simple. Because of the high moisture content from the fresh fruit, this cake keeps really well and in fact its flavours only intensify over time - good to know if you're in the market for something to make ahead.

Whole orange cake
Recipe adapted from Sunset magazine

Because of the slight bitterness I'd guess this is more something to serve to adults rather than kids. Unless the kids in question are into marmalade, a flavour this resembles a little.

225g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin 
250g sugar 
3 large eggs 
2 oranges (about 450g), ends trimmed, then cut into chunks and pips removed 
315g flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon bicarb (baking) soda 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
185g icing (confectioners’) sugar 
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice, from half an orange

Preheat oven to 165 deg C (325 deg F) and position a rack in the centre. 

Grease and flour a Bundt tin. If you don't have one of these, just use a large springform tin or halve the recipe and use a smaller tin.

Beat butter and sugar til light and fluffy, and beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Place orange chunks in a food processor and blitz til mostly smooth but not completely puréed. Measure out 355ml of the fruit mixture and add to the cake batter and stir to combine. Fold in dry ingredients - flour, salt, bicarb soda and baking powder - til batter is just smooth.

Bake for approximately 55 minutes, or until cake has risen and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cake sit in tin on wire rack for ten minutes, then invert cake onto rack and leave to cool completely.

For icing, whisk together icing sugar and orange juice and adjust the consistency to taste - for thicker icing, add more icing sugar; for runnier icing, add more juice. Ice when cake is fully cool, leave to set, then serve.


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