Winter Spiced Orange Cake

Winter Spiced Orange Cake

This original recipe is one of my family’s favourites.  It was destined to happen because everyone in my house likes to throw cinnamon onto everything sweet as soon as October starts.  Porridge, hot chocolate and buttered toast (have you tried it…so good!) all get a sprinkling.  Although we associate all those deliciously warming winter spices with pumpkin-themed treats from the US, these flavours were originally popular in Europe.  Personally, I can’t wait to start including them in my baking and this recipe has proven one of my best-sellers for weddings at this time of year.

It’s an easy cake to make so if you’re not a confident baker, give this a go and you might surprise yourself.  I appreciate not everyone enjoys baking but this should take you no longer than twenty minutes to prepare.  Just make sure that you whisk the eggs and sugar together for a good couple of minutes and that you sift the dry ingredients into the bowl so the cake will rise.  (To avoid getting flour all over the kitchen, a good tip is to push it through the sieve using the back of a spoon rather than tapping the side of the sieve and ending up with a dusted kitchen!)

As for ingredients, I use both orange zest to give freshness and good quality orange extract for a richer flavour.  Feel free to play around with the spices.  If cinnamon isn’t your thing, just use more of the others.  

This is the most perfect cake for the weekend with your favourite cup of coffee and if it doesn’t get you in a festive mood, I don’t know what will.  In fact, it might become a Christmas morning breakfast tradition…it can be made into an amazing French toast you know!

Makes one 900g loaf tin (approximately 8.5 x 17.5cm)

Ingredients

  • 190g softened butter or Stork margarine (plus extra for greasing)
  • 190g caster sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 80g low fat (NOT fat-free) natural yoghurt or buttermilk
  • For the glaze:
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C (325F or gas mark 3) and grease the loaf tin with butter or margarine.  Line with greaseproof paper, making sure to get into the corners.
  1. Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest together, using an electric mixer or whisk, for two minutes until the mixture is pale and slightly fluffy.  Adding the zest at this point means that the friction with the sugar releases the oil, adding more flavour.
  1. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, followed by the orange extract.
  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices into the bowl and mix until fully combined.
  1. Add in the natural yoghurt and whisk in.
  1. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean from the tin.
  1. Remove the cake from the tin after 20 minutes and leave to cool on a wire rack.  
  1. Once nearly cooled, make the glaze by mixing the orange juice and icing sugar into a thin consistency.  Drizzle this over the loaf cake and enjoy!