I also know that she is one of my most dedicated followers (Hi Granny!), and for that if nothing else she deserves a marvelous birthday cake! I fancied baking a cake a little lighter than my previous two monsters (Lime & Pistachio and Chocolate Honeycomb). This cake seemed perfect: light and refreshing, just what we needed after a delicious lunch at a local French-style cafe.
This recipe, with some minor alterations, is from The Clandestine Cake Club Book. I used my neighbour's chickens freshly laid eggs for extra freshness. There's nothing like baking with eggs quite that local!
225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
225g self raising flour
zest of 1 large orange
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk
icing sugar, to dust
orange slice, to decorate
(I also added a teeny weeny bit of orange juice, and a drip-drop of vanilla essence)
For the orange syrup:
grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
1 tsp orange blossom water or 2 tsp Cointreau
1 tsp caster sugar
For the white chocolate icing:
150g white chocolate
grated zest of 2 large oranges, plus 4 tbsp juice
200g butter, softened
75g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (fan 170). Grease and line two 20cm round sandwich tins.
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs gradually, beating well after each addition, and adding a tablespoon of flour with the final addition to help prevent curdling. Mix in the orange zest, then fold in the remaining flour and the baking powder until thoroughly combined. If the mixture looks a little stiff then add a little milk. (I didn't need to as I added some orange juice.)
In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the COLD chocolate, beating all the time, until thoroughly combined. (BE WARNED: IF THE CHOCOLATE MIXTURE IS STILL WARM IT WILL MELT THE BUTTER AND THE MIXTURE WILL SPLIT!!)
Sandwich together the cooled cakes with the filling, then dust the top with icing sugar and decorate with a slice of orange.
Here's a picture of Granny herself cutting a slice of cake. The sponge was beautifully soft and fluffy, a darn good bake even if I do say so myself! It was just the right way to end a very happy day.
If you like the look of this but fancy something a little more exotic, then try this Passionfruit Cake for an equally refreshing summer treat.