Saturday, 6 March 2010

A rather strange cake

I've made a rather strange cake.  It is a light, delicately flavoured, iced orange cake, which is very tasty and refreshing and goes nicely with a cup of Lady Grey tea. So far, so normal, but the reason that it is strange is that when I cut open the oranges to make the cake, I discovered that they were blood oranges.  That'll teach me not to read the leaflet that comes in my veg box.

The cake is a simple sponge cake, flavoured with the zest and a little bit of the juice of one orange.  It is topped with a fancy buttercream icing, made from butter, icing sugar, orange juice and a little bit of white chocolate.  If you were to use a regular orange, the whole cake would be a subtle, sophisticated shade of light orange.  However, if you make it with a blood orange it comes out PINK!

The recipe is based on one in Rachel Allen's book, Bake, and also on one that my mother used to make on Sunday afternoons when I was very little.  Both Rachel Allen's and my mother's cakes are sandwich cakes, filled with buttercream and topped with runny icing made from icing sugar and orange juice.  However, I prefer making traybake cakes to sandwich cakes for everyday.  Sandwich cakes are lovely for a birthday or a special occasion but they are a pain to store and it is difficult to cut little slices of them for an after school snack.

If you would like to make your own pink-orange cake, here is the recipe.

The List Writer's Rather Strange Pink-Orange Cake

For the cake you will need:
  • 225g plain flour
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g butter or soft margerine
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • zest and 1 tablespoon of juice from one blood orange
For the buttercream icing you will need:
  • the remaining juice from the blood orange
  • half a block of butter - softened
  • six squares of white chocolate
  • a good shake of icing sugar
Switch on the oven to Gas 4 and line a traybake tin with baking parchment (I have this one, from Lakeland). 

To make the cake, cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each one, to prevent curdling.  Then mix in the rest of the flour, the baking powder and one tablespoon of the orange juice.  Spoon the mixture into the baking tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick, pushed into the middle, comes out clean.  Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Put the icing sugar, butter, remaining orange juice and melted chocolate into a large bowl and beat thoroughly until smooth.  If it looks too sloppy, add some more icing sugar.  I never weigh icing sugar - it goes everywhere and I always end up having to add more anyway, so just use your judgement here.

Spread the icing over the cooled cake and enjoy its remarkable pinkness!


  1. I have two children who would go mad for that cake. Now, what's the betting I can only find 'ordinary' oranges?

  2. This looks yum - cake and biscuit obsessed at the moment - diet will have to wait!

  3. It sounds delicious! I was always rather horrified by blood oranges as a child (and that first photo does look a little as though something has died a horrible death in your kitchen!), so I might attempt this but with ordinary oranges!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    Rachel x

  4. Mmmm, looks very tasty indeed. i shall give that one a whirl at work this week. I'm not sure Tesco sells blood oranges though..

  5. Thank you for the recipe - I'm going to try it out on my pink-obsessed son. He'll be in cake heaven!

  6. We've had fun making smoothies with our blood oranges - they look very...umm, bloody!

  7. The cake looks gorgeous and what a happy accident to find out that blood oranges give pink icing! I have just posted my solo lunch over at my blog. You may like to add it to one of your lists!!!

  8. Isn't that funny - pink! I guess it makes sense. I love blood oranges. The cake looks delicious, and would be divine with a cup of tea.


  9. Nancy, the fact that you let them have this as an after-school snack is SO lovely. Seth said to me today "I don't think apricots are a real snack mummy", and he is so right. Best get baking.


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