Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oranges & Lemons, Cakewise

Two cakes later, the cake-making bug seems to have departed as suddenly as it arrived. There will be at least one more cake before the flour runs out but the desire, it seems, is dead. Disabusing the baker of the confidence gained from previous 'experience', the second cake was no less time-consuming than the first. More protracted, in fact, because experienced baker decided to try her hand at icing.

I like this baker, she doesn't settle for beginner's lessons when she starts something. She forges ahead with much aplomb and little humility, sets her sights high. She is only a little worried about failure; it can always find refuge in willing colleagues or a trifle pudding, not just a dustbin. (Actually, this is the second time the baker is baking this cake, the first time was at least four years ago.)

Happily, however, this cake rose to the occasion. The icing - which, in a case of arrested development, stopped at glaze, that too with much persistence - improved it much. It masked the mild bitterness the cake exhibited when eaten bare.

When Cousin asked what cake this was on reaching home after a long, transcontinental journey at 2 a m, she was told it was 'Bitter Orange Cake' to preempt disappointment, but Cousin, whose tastes proved to be catholic and who disagreed that we are too fond of food for our own good and called food a work of art, proceeded to actively appreciate the art. (Cousin, if you discover this post and identify yourself, please note that your cousin-the-blogger is using the literary device of exaggeration.)

The cake travelled home to family with Cousins and Uncle the next day, where it was much appreciated. Aunt Jr wants the recipe. Aunt Sr returned the container despite the baker hoping she had seen the last of it (it would help her in Mission De-clutter), saying her hope was that it would return with more cake. Till such time, here's the recipe.

Whole Orange Cake With Citrus Icing - taken from here:

Whole oranges: 240 gm (2 in my case)
Butter: 200 gm, melted
Eggs: 3, beaten lightly
Caster sugar: 1 cup/220 gm (I powdered ordinary sugar in my blender.)
Self-raising flour: 225 gm (For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt - this is what I did.)

Citrus Icing
Lime: 2
Orange: 1, small
Icing sugar: 1 cup
Boiling water: 1 tsp

Preheat the oven to moderate (180°C/160°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 20cm cake pan, line base with baking paper. (I greased a diamond-shaped pan that I had, and I didn't have baking paper.)

Wash and dry the oranges; quarter and remove seeds. Process in a small food processor until pulpy.

Transfer orange to a medium bowl, stir in butter, eggs, sugar and sifted flour until smooth. Pour mixture into the pan. Bake in a moderate oven for about 50 minutes or until cooked when tested with knife, skewer or tester. Stand for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Icing: Using a zester, remove bits of rind from lime and orange - two teaspoons of each.

Squeeze juice from fruit - two teaspoons each orange juice and lemon juice.

Sift icing sugar into a bowl; stir in juices and enough water to make a smooth paste. Stir in rind.

Pour icing immediately over cake; stand until set.

Original recipe says: "Un-iced cake suitable to freeze. Butter suitable to microwave."

This is off to Divya's Show Me Your Cake event.


  1. Looks shiny and delicious. If you didn't tell nobody would have known it could have been bitter ;)

  2. To fill up the ampty container which is back the only option is to rediscover your passion for baking.
    The cake looks really yumm. I love bitter orange taste in cakes.

  3. Grinding the orange brings this bitterness- I guess... But I like the glaze and probably the cake too..

  4. I love that you glazed it and citrusy flavour is what works the best for let me get inspired by you and start my X'mas baking :) (am so lazy this year!)

  5. Orange and Lime cake has to be good. Actually I like it bitter, just like I love bitter marmalade (made accidentally without taking out the piths)and fell in love with the sweet, tangy and the bitter taste.

  6. Delicious cake! Thanks for sending this!!

  7. Sra, the cake looks very nice. I like citrusy stuff but won't dare to grind a whole orange (did u mention only the insides and not the pith ?). Why am I asking this is have read quite a number of recipe which boil whol oranges and grind them and add to cake mix (the pith and all). If the pith is not there why should it get the bitter taste ? If thats not there I would gladly try this recipe right away!

  8. I don't think I've tasted a cake like this before. Sounds delicious and it certainly looks delicious.


  9. Got hooked at 'bitter orange'.
    Baker, don't give up just yet.

  10. The cake looks really shiny and inviting..once I made an orange glaze cake and it formed a tough crust on the top though it was moist inside...everyone almost choked and I didnt try baking with oranges after that :)

  11. Sra,
    wow! and I was kind of wondering also Like Nirmala ..why it would be bitter ? and I do add orange zest sometimes to cakes but that is in quite a less amount n that dont bother the end result...
    I am sure your cousin have loved this n other family members also ...
    hugs and smiles

  12. Hmm. if it was me i would love it more for the bitter taste too..:)

  13. Hi Sra
    I have missed the blog for a while ut i am going to try this lemony flavoured cake...

  14. I think yu're being rather hard on yourself. Your cake looks good (in your pic) and the family consensus also says the same.

    You're not going to bake again? :(

  15. I do like bitter orange taste, like the real bitter orange marmalade. So I'm sure I'd have loved this one, and it looks really good too!

    BTW I too baked my first cake ever yesterday! It turned out pretty good, will blog about it soon.

  16. Whole oranges in a cake -- that's new to me! Looks mighty tasty and I liked the baker's tale, too :)

  17. cake looks good! more than the cake...its ur write up for each post that makes me keep coming back here dear! I really admire people who have a very good way of writing....its not about the vocabulary....its just the style and the way a certain thought or message is conveyed! :-)very few people have the talent and u r one among them!

    have a lovely day

  18. Thanks, Indo, Happy, Bong Mom, Cham, Rachel, Soma, Divya, Ni, Paz, Cooker, Sowjanya, Jaya, Mallugirl, Anamika, Aparna, Sig, Linda, Veda.

    It wasn't an unpleasant bitterness at all, but I wasn't sure those who ate it would like it. As it turned out, they did. Ni, so you can go ahead and try it, tho' I remember that the last time I made this cake, I seem to have boiled the orange first. (Confused, because I remember only this one recipe that I pointed to.)

  19. Sra, you baked! The bitterness is definitely from the orange pith. I suspect the flavor is similar to marmalade - which I love.

    Very pretty, too. Diamond shapes have always been a fave with me.

  20. That cake looks gorgeous! Oh cmon, you need to bake more for Aunty's sake. :)