Whole Orange “Sunday” Cake

Aaaah, Sunday winter nights. Just right for really shitty photos

Moving to Hamburg has been a revelation in all kinds of ways – with one of the biggest shocks being the “Sunday Rules” which see all supermarkets, shops and most commercial activities closed, as well as a ban on loud noises in most blocks of flats – nixing normal Sunday activities like hoovering, DIY, washing machines and dishwashers. 

This has two primary impacts: 

  1. I spend Saturday FRANTICALLY doing all my housework and shopping in between all the nice stuff like shopping and partying and dealing with any hangover activity. 
  2. Sunday is spent listlessly trying to think of things to do (cinemas and museums remain blessedly open, as do bakeries and restaurants, albeit with restricted hours), often with critically missing ingredients which I forgot to buy on Saturday. 

In these circumstances, I often end up keeping busy by doing “quiet house” activities like cleaning the fridge and trying to use up the fruit and veg which has been replaced by the new veg box delivery. 

I LOVE a veg box, and was delighted that Hamburg has a local organic scheme which is super convenient and plastic-free to boot. Of course, it isn’t quite as convenient as some schemes in London, with a real “you get what you’ve given” approach.* At this time of year, it is a near-fetish that I receive more oranges than I know what to do with in the veg delivery, and consequently am finding ever more creative ways of disposing of them.

Whole orange cakes are a GREAT Sunday task, because the first phase involves boiling the HECKINS out of an orange, simmering it for 2 hours or so to get fully soft all the way through before needing to leave for about 3 hours to get cold again. With a glut in the house, it’s the work of a moment to boil a few, let em cool then whizz them briefly in the food processor (technically against the noise rules but it’s a risk I’m willing to take) before bagging them up into 150g freezer-ready portions. 

Besides whole orange cake, the orange pulp can be used to make orange buttercream, the basis for a marmalade or even stirred by the spoonful into Tagines and curries. Not a bad return on a few hours’ quiet bubbling on a lazy Sunday! 

You beauty

Whole Orange Cake with orange buttercream

Serves 10-12 

This orange buttercream is an adaptation of Dan Lepard’s creamy vanilla frosting which is now one of my favourite things to put on cake – but then I LOVE orange creamsicle, which is what the flavour puts me in mind of. If you prefer a Terrys-Chocolate-Orange approach to life, this cake is super with a lovely rich ganache sandwiching the layers together. 

For the cake

150g orange pulp, defrosted (or 1 large orange, boiled for 2 hours until soft then left to cool, seeds removed and mashed/blended to a soft juicy pulp)

200g butter

250g sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g plain flour

75g ground almonds**

4 tsp baking powder 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and line 2 x 20cm sandwich tins***
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth, then beat in the eggs, being careful not to curdle the mixture. 
  3. Add the vanilla and stir in, before sifting in the flour and baking powder. Stir in the nuts, followed by the orange, and make sure the mixture is well blended. 
  4. Divide between the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes in the oven until risen, golden and tempting-smelling, and the sponge springs back to a gentle enquiring poke. 
  5. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire cake to go completely cold. 
Ready for frosting. Observe the specks of Cardamom which is the sign that a) I’m a lazy grinder and b) this cake will be the BOMB

For the icing: 

115 unsalted butter, softened

375g icing sugar

115g condensed milk

2 tbsp cream 

2 tbsp orange pulp

  1. Beat the butter until very soft and creamy, with plenty of air (the butter will go quite pale). 
  2. Add the sugar bit by bit, continuing to beat, until the mixture is again creamy and airy. 
  3. Stir in the condensed milk and beat until – you guessed it – creamy. 
  4. Add the orange pulp and taste to check the tangy, creamy sweet mixture. If a little stiff, add cream to loosen slightly. 

To assemble, trim the sponges flat and sandwich together with around a third of the icing. Cover the tops and sides with the rest of the buttercream. Do not refrigerate – this cake HATES the cold and will go tough. 

*Hope you like carrots, bitch. Cos you’re getting a LOT of them. 

**If you’re allergic to almonds/nuts in general, just replace with the same weight of plain flour. The texture wont be as temptingly moist but will be a bit lighter and airier – which some prefer! 

*** If you like, split the mixture between three tins and ice the top and between layers only for a fashionable hipster “naked cake”

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