Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Orange cake

I recently wrote about the treasure of lemons and their versatility. Give me a bag of lemons and dozens of recipes flow through my mind. Give me a bag of oranges and my repertoire is more limited. I don't know why this is. I'm a big fan of oranges but I've just never cooked much with them.

Although my orange recipes are limited, the few I do have are pretty special. I have a recipe for "The Amazing Orange Cake", a recipe by Margie Agostini of Caffe Agostini in Sydney that she gave to my all-time favourite cook Jill Dupleix to generously share with her readers. It more than lives up to its name - it's the most rich, moist, buttery cake I've ever eaten and seconds is not enough. I think this is the best cake I've ever eaten (and that's a big call from someone whose first preference is for chocolate or lemon cake). But there's a certain freshness and lightness to an orange cake that is different from the tang of a lemon cake or the dense sweetness of a chocolate cake.

The Amazing Orange Cake is an "occasion cake", one to make to impress guests. It's also huge, using half a kilogram each of flour, butter and sugar, and takes more than an hour to bake. So for times when I feel like an easy cake, I make my mum's simple orange cake. She made this cake all the time when we were kids and I can see why. It's a simple cake, using the bare minimum of ingredients that are always in the pantry. It takes a few minutes to mix up and just half an hour in the oven.

Having recently received a bag or enormous juicy oranges as a gift, I quickly whipped this up and it was gone within the day, which is always a good recommendation!


125g butter
180g sugar
250g self-raising flour
2 eggs
juice and rind of 1 orange with enough milk to make 1/2 cup liquid

Cream butter and sugar, add well-beaten eggs, then add flour and lastly liquid of juice and milk and finely grated rind. Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) in an orange-cake tin (I used a loaf tin) for 35-40 minutes.

For icing, melt 1-2 teaspoons of butter, then sift in 2/3 cup of icing sugar and mix with orange juice (and some fine zest if you like) to make a soft icing.


Deborah said...

I love orange cake, although I do not make it often enough!

Lucy said...

How funny, Melinda, I never know what to do with a bag of oranges either!

I always end up making the Sephardic Orange Cake from Claudia Roden.

This is a lovely recipe.

Melinda said...

Thanks Deborah! This cake is so easy that you'll be able to whip it up often!

Hi Lucy - it's funny you mention Claudia Roden's cake. I used the rest of the oranges to make Stephanie Alexander's version of Claudia's cake and I really didn't like it. I think I didn't cook it long enough but I just found it too moist and a funny texture (which is why I didn't write about it!)

Ali-K said...

Hi Melinda. I share your dilemma about oranges. I too make Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern Orange cake, but it's tricky in my poor oven. I also have a delicious buttery orange cake but the repetoire stops there. A workmate's family has an orange orchard so I frequently get more than I can use. I tried orange granita once which was a disaster so I went back to cakes.

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Melinda said...

Hi Ali - I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles with oranges!

Thanks Jeena! You have some fabulous recipes on your blog. I'm looking forward to trying the best cookie recipe in the world very soon!