What Did I Make?
An orange cake from the Constance Spry Cookbook.
Very popular with children. RH says: ” was always our choice for tea”.
- 2 eggs, their weight in butter, sugar, and flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- The finely grated rind and juice of one orange
- 4 ounces icing sugar
- The juice of one orange
- Small quantity of apricot glaze or puréed jam
- 1 tablespoon stock syrup or water
- Candied orange peel
Cream the butter, beat in the sugar until white. Separate the eggs and add the yolks one at a time with a dessert spoon of the flower and the orange rind and juice. Sift the remaining flour with baking powder. Whip the whites stiffly and fold in with the flour. Turn at once into a small prepared cake or sandwich tin, flatten and hollow slightly on the top. Bake in a moderate oven 20 to 30 minutes. Turn out and cool. Brush or spread the cake with a thin layer of apricot glaze or puréed jam; Sieve the icing sugar put it into a small pan with the orange juice and work with the stock syrup or water to make a thick cream. Warm slightly and pour over the cake. Decorate with peel softened in a little hot water.
Why Did I Make This?
It is peak orange season here in Australia. I bought 1 2 kg bag of Navel oranges for a salad. After I had made the salad I had a fruit bowl full of oranges. I remembered baking the Constance Spry orange cake as a child. My mother had an original 1950’s edition of this huge cookbook. When I got bored on Sundays or during the holidays she encouraged me to look for things to make or do. I spent time going through all her cook books but I was always attracted to the Constance Spry one as it was so big and seemed to have recipes for every possible set of ingredients. The orange cake attracted me because it was described as a favourite. I remember a feeling a great satisfaction when I finally managed to beat the butter and sugar white using a wooden spoon and the sharp smell of the orange juice and rind as it was mixed in.
I thought why not have another go as a grown up.
What did I buy?
What did I use?
Flour, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla essence, caster sugar, baking powder, icing sugar, orange zest and orange juice.
20 cm loose bottom sandwich cake tin.
How did it turn out?
I ended up with a very small thin sponge. Perhaps the eggs were too small for the tin size (although it was the smallest sandwich tin I own). I had some trouble with my electric hand whisk which I was using to cream the butter and sugar. One of the beaters made a really horrible noise and then fell out. As a consequence I don’t think I worked the butter and sugar until they were white. That probably explains the pitted texture.
The cake wasn’t big enough to ice in the manner suggested by the recipe. I served it by cutting rounds with a pastry cutter (2 per person). I sandwich the individual rounds together with whipped creams and orange slivers. Despite the obvious technical problems the cake had a fair sponge texture and tasted nicely of orange as promised in the recipe.