“Mma Ramotswe sighed. ‘We are all tempted, Mma. We are all tempted when it comes to cake.’
‘That is true,’ said Mma Potokwane sadly. ‘There are many temptations in this life, but cake is probably one of the biggest of them.”
~ Alexander McCall Smith
When you live on a farm it’s a different way of life to being in the city. When neighbours drop by it’s still a trek. If the tractor repair man comes he’s had a fair drive before he gets to us. The same for any kind of tradesperson. If friends are in the neighbourhood, having travelled to our part of the world for some other reason, they’ll often call ahead to see if we are home. And then all of them pop in for a cuppa.
If it’s morning, we’ll have morning tea. If it’s midday I can always rustle up extra food for lunch. Afternoon tea is a chance to stop on the veranda for a while to escape the heat of the day, or to pop inside by the wood fire to warm up before heading back out to the paddocks again. Any time’s a good time for a smoko break when friends drop by. (Smoko is not Australian slang for a cigarette break – smoko is a break from work, where hot tea is served, and something to eat.)
This orange cake is a smoko favourite. If we are working down at the cattle yards or heading out bush I will leave the cake un-iced so that it travels better. But at home, especially with visitors coming, the icing makes the cake just that little bit fancier.
Our orange trees are full of fruit right now, so it’s only a short walk for us to grab a couple sun-warmed and fresh from the tree.
This is a lovely, moist buttery cake with good flavour. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family do! It cooks up beautifully with gluten-free flour too. 🙂
Lots of love, Nicole xx
- 250g butter, softened (If it’s cold, let it come to room temperature or you’ll be mixng it forever to get it to cream with the sugar. If it’s very hot – like Australia in summer – just remove from butter from fridge, cut into cubes and place into mixer. It will soon warm up on its own.)
- 1 rounded cup of castor sugar (rounded means a little bit heaped rather than flat)
- 4 eggs
- 1 tblspn finely grated orange zest
- 2 cups of sifted self-raising flour (it’s fine to use your favourite gluten-free flour if you want)
- 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice
For the icing (frosting):
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 tblspn softened butter
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
Tip: For an extra flavour boost you can also use a good food-grade orange essential oil, 3 drops for the cake and 3 for the icing. I use Young Living essential oils, and I just love them!
- Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
- Line a 22cm springform cake tin with baking paper.
- Beat the butter until soft in an electric mixer and then gradually add the sugar. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and thick. This takes a few minutes on medium speed.
- Add eggs one at a time on low speed, beating well after each one.
- Add orange zest and a couple of drops of food grade orange essential oil if you are using it.
- Stop the mixer and dump the sifted flour into the bowl. Mix on slow speed until well combined. Use a scraper to push the mixture on the sides of the bowl down into the batter if necessary and then mix again.
- With the mixer still on slow speed pour the orange juice in little by little until all combined.
- Spread the batter into your cake tin and smooth the surface, making the centre of the cake just slightly lower than the sides. This stops it rising too high when it bakes.
- Bake for 40 minutes and then check. Cake is baked if it springs back when touched in the middle, or if a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave a little longer if not quite done.
- Remove cake from oven. Cool in tin for five to ten minutes and then place onto a rack to cool completely.
- Place cake on serving plate.
- Add the orange juice, essential oil (if using) and softened butter to the sifted icing sugar, stirring well until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Spread onto the cooled cake. Dipping your knife in hot water will help give a smooth and shiny finish as you spread the icing (frosting) mixture.
- If you want to be fancy you can add some extra grated zest, candied peel or orange slices, sprinkles, coconut or white chocolate curls to decorate the top of the cake (I usually don’t bother.)
- Serve with a good cup of coffee or a pot of tea. I especially enjoy Earl Grey or French Earl Grey with this cake, but Irish Breakfast is also fabulous.