A short lived beauty, blood oranges come around every year about this time. They are like regular oranges but the flesh is a beautiful pink/red. Not wanting to see their season go by without using them in some manner of bake, I adapted a simple vanilla cake to include the zest of the orange rind and reduced some of the juice to syrup.
The cake flavour is quite fresh. The orange cuts through the sugar in the frosting and the thyme from the reduction adds a subtle balance without over powering the citrus pop. An incredibly simple cake to make, using the basics in store cupboard ingredients. It’s a really nice little cake recipe to serve with tea.
– 225g butter (softened)
– 225g caster sugar
– Zest of one blood orange (regular oranges will suffice)
– 4 large, free range eggs
– 225g self-raising flour
– 1 tsp vanilla
– Juice of two blood oranges
– Couple sprigs of Thyme
– 100g sugar
– 125g soft unsalted butter
– 250g-300g of icing sugar
– Blood Orange Syrup
– (optional) a tiny drop of pink food colouring
1. Preheat your oven to 350F, 180C (160C fan) or Gas mark 4. Line and spray with baking release, three 6 inch cake tins, or two 8 inch tins.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest together using an electric mixer until pale. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until fully combined.
3. Fold in the flour using a rubber spatula until the two mixtures have come together. Fold through the vanilla.
4. Divide the mixture evenly between the two or three cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. You will know the layers are done when the tops have slightly domed and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear.
1. On the hob, put the juice, sugar and sprigs of thyme into a pot, Bring to a low boil, ensuring all the sugar has melted. Set to one side to cool.
2. When the cake layers come out of the oven, gently ladle a few tablespoons of the syrup over the top of each cake. Do not use all of it, reserve some for the frosting. Let the cake layers sit for a few minutes, before removing to cool fully on a wire rack.
1. Beat the butter and 250g of icing sugar (and food colouring if using) until fully combined.
2. Add the syrup and use the extra icing sugar if you need to thicken up the frosting.
3. Once the cakes are cooled, place the first layer, topside down on your serving plate. Fill the cake with a layer of frosting, following with the second (and third) cake layers.
4.Using an offset spatula; scrap the frosting around the sides and top of the cake.
5. Decorate with some thyme leaves.
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