Saturday, February 09, 2008

Orange Season

It must be the festive season that's put me in a citrus mood. And it can't be helped, really, since everywhere you turn there are kumquats and mandarins, satsumas and oranges galore. So for dessert over many festive dinners, our table has been laden with all things orange.

At one dinner was crepes with kumquat compote and vanilla ice cream; at another was our nostalgic orange trifle which my brother and I nearly finished all by ourselves when the guests weren't looking. There was honey kumquat sorbet; orange cupcakes with earl grey tea-infused chocolate ganache frosting topped with candied orange peel. And now that the eating frenzy has passed, we're munching on sweet juicy mandarin orange wedges straight from the fridge.

Of all the orange desserts, the easiest has to be this simple and homely orange cake that's a cinch to make. Like the Lemon Poppy Seed cake in my last post, this one is easy to dress up. Made into cupcakes, they are delicious topped with fresh whipped cream infused with a teaspoon of orange blossom water and strewn with finely chopped pistachios. It also makes for a great teatime treat topped with candied oranges and a trickle of orange syrup.

Orange Butter Cake

250g butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2 tsp orange zest
100ml fresh orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
2. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
4. Fold the flour into the batter.
5. Add the zest and juice and mix only until the batter is well incorporated.
6. Pour batter into a moulded tin, like a bundt tin, and bake for 40–60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.