I love cooking with citrus fruits, especially at this time of year when there are so many more available in the shops and there are so many festive recipes to put them in. I had bought some oranges to put into my Christmas cake and mincemeat this weekend but this afternoon I had a sudden urge to bake and this recipe came to mind. I'll have to go out and buy some more oranges now but this lovely cake more than compensates for that!
The only issue I had with this cake was the icing. I foolishly mixed 2 tablespoons of orange juice into the icing sugar in one go and ended up with icing that was too runny. Next time I'll add about a teaspoon at a time.
Orange Madeira Cake
(adapted from Home Cooking by Rachel Allen)
175g/6oz butter, softened
175g/6oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
225g/8oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
For the topping
75g/3oz icing sugar
2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1) Preheat the oven to 170c/325f/gas mark 3. Lightly grease and line a 23 x 13cm (9 x 5 inch) loaf tin.
2) Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer to soften it further. Then add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each one, then add the orange zest.
3) Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in with the orange juice. Stop when all the flour is incorporated. Transfer the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the top.
4) Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
5) For the topping, sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and stir in just enough orange juice to make a soft, but not runny, icing. If you want the icing to stay on the cake, place the cooled cake back in the tin and spread the icing over the top.