Planting orange trees around here is a tricky business. It is hard to tell with a young tree whether the fruit is going to be sweet or bitter. We planted several trees when we came to live here, thinking they were sweet oranges and a lemon – but they turned out to be the Seville variety. We managed, eventually, to grow a sweet orange and a lemon, but we still have a glut of Seville oranges every year from the original trees.
I make tons of marmalade, to give away to friends and to various charity bake sales, but I am always at a loss to know what to do with the rest.
These are yesterday’s fallers – Robin has positioned a table handily next to the tree, so that he can line up the fallers and make me feel even more guilty about them! It’s no good trying to give them away, as everyone is in the same predicament.
When we came back from our holiday last week, our friends who had kindly stayed with our cats had left us a lemon drizzle cake. It was far superior to my usual model, so I asked Sally for the recipe – she had adapted Delia Smith’s all-in-one sponge recipe for the job, so the recipe continues to evolve. As Seville oranges have a similar sourness to lemons, I thought an orange version might work. I gave the cake to friends, but haven’t had the verdict yet – I will let you know!
Of course, if you don’t have access to Seville oranges, you could make the same cake with lemons or sweet oranges – or even a combination of the two.
Seville-orange drizzle cake (Thank you Sally Gumz, by way of Delia Smith)
Serves 8 – 10
For the cake:
115g margarine or butter (softened)
115g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Finely grated zest of two oranges (Seville if you can get them)
Juice of half an orange (you will need the rest of the juice later
For the drizzle:
Juice of 1.5 oranges
2 dessert spoons of granulated sugar (caster is too fine)
You will need a loaf tin (mine is 11cm x 21 cm), lined with a parchment liner
Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
Grate the zest of the orange into a large mixing bowl, using a fine grater.
Add the soft margarine or butter, the sugar, eggs, baking powder and half of the flour.
Whisk with an electric whisk until you have a smooth batter. Add the rest of the flour and the orange juice and whisk again (adding half of the flour at a time means that you and the entire kitchen don’t end up covered in flour, but if you want to live dangerously, you can chuck it all in at once). If you don’t have an electric whisk, you can do this by hand, but you will need to employ a bit of elbow grease.
Scrape the mix into the lined loaf tin and sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake for about 45 minutes – the cake should be well risen and have developed a hollow, or possibly even a crack, down the middle.
Mix the rest of the orange juice with the granulated sugar – give it a quick stir (you don’t want the sugar to dissolve), then spoon the sugary juice all over the cake (leave the cake in the tin while you do this).
Leave the cake to cool in the tin and then it is ready to serve. The cake should be crispy on the top with lots of lovely crunchy sugary bits, but soft and a bit gooey in the centre.