Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Pantry-shelf chocolate orange cake

This weekend, I was in Brisbane celebrating Christmas with my family. It's still November, I'm aware, but this year I'm not going to be in Australia on the day itself so we needed to rearrange the schedule a bit. Though the date may not have been quite right, everything else felt like holidays in my hometown: heat, humidity and thunderstorms, check, watching cricket with my dad, check, unwrapping presents, check, nice dinner out with friends, check, amazing breakfast in with others, check, cooking in my parents' kitchen, check. The latter is probably one of my favourite parts of coming home. Though I dearly love my kitchen in Sydney, it's small verging on tiny, so it's somewhat novel for me to have space to spread out. Not that I needed it really for this cake, which I made on Saturday. You see, Australia was doing particularly well in the First Test, and I didn't want to divert my attention for too long from the screen. So this cake fit the bill. In more ways than one. Not only was it extremely straight-forward (you can make it in a saucepan!) but it has marmalade as a key ingredient. And my mum happens to make incredible marmalade (with cumquats from her tree) and always has a ready supply. So here it is, the non-Christmas cake I made over my non-Christmas Christmas. So easy to make, it's an excellent everyday cake but the sweet, tart citrus kick of the marmalade makes it just that little bit special. A tangy zing in a deep, dark, densely chocolatey loaf. I'd like to dedicate it to Mitchell Johnson, another ex-Queenslander who had a good weekend in his home state. Thanks to this cake, I didn't miss one of his wickets.

Pantry-shelf chocolate orange cake
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess

Because of the marmalade, this cake is beautifully moist and therefore keeps well - perfect for five day test cricket. I love the principle of the pantry-shelf cake, where all the ingredients are easily to hand. No special trips to the shops required.

1/2 cup butter
4 oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 1/3 cups marmalade
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup self-raising flour (or 1 cup plain flour + 2 teaspoons baking powder)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat to melt. When it’s nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon til the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the marmalade, sugar, salt, and eggs. Stir with your wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated, fold in the flour. Put into your prepared pan (I used a loaf tin) and bake for about 50 mins. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes before turning out.


  1. Looks delicious and how lucky were you to be soaking up the atmosphere in Brisbane for the Ashes

  2. the cricket was great! Go Mitch and go Pantry-shelf choc orange cake!!

  3. Have been battling a dodgy oven here in Melbourne, a fan forced furnace, but this worked out beautifully.

  4. I'm making it for Mum's 74th birthday! The batter tastes delish so fingers crossed... !