SPICED ORANGE CAKE

A delicious and spicy orange-infused cake, filled and covered with a zesty orange buttercream – perfect for stacking and carving…

I don’t know about you, but I love love LOVE Christmas baking.

A batch or twelve of mince pies. A pile of crispy gingerbread. A rich and luxurious stollen. The ubiquitous Christmas pudding. A tin full of my favourite spicy cranberry cookies. Oh, and of course, a ton of Christmas cakes to share with my friends!

But do know what I struggle with every darn year? Trying to create one of my signature carved creations, while managing to maintain all of the traditional flavours of Christmas. Obviously, there is always the option of chocolate cake, but it gets kind of boring year after year.

So, this year, when my buddies at Renshaw asked me to create a new take a Christmas cake, I thought this was the perfect time to be a bit creative and rustle up a brand-new festive recipe of my very own. One that is perfect for stacking, carving and sculpting, but still chock full of some of my favourite festive flavours – and thus my Spiced Orange Cake was born!

This recipe makes two deep 7″ cakes.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 510g butter or margarine
  • 510g golden caster sugar
  • 9 large eggs
  • 510g self-raising flour
  • 3tsps orange extract
  • 1tsp almond extract
  • 2tsps ground ginger
  • 2tsps ground cinnamon

For the orange buttercream:

  • 500g slightly salted butter
  • 1kg icing sugar
  • 2tbsp orange extract
  • 2 heaped tbsp royal icing sugar

Method:

Start by preheating your oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3 and grease and line two deep 7″ cake pans.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fully incorporated and pale in colour.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs with your extracts and spices, before slowly combining with the butter/sugar mixture. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour.

Sieve the flour into the bowl and mix until just combined – be careful not to over-beat the mixture.

Separate the mixture between the two tins and bake in the oven for around one hour and forty minutes, until a skewer comes out clean and the mixture has stopped ‘singing’.

TOP TIP: When baking deeper or larger cakes, it is better to bake at a lower temperature for longer, as this will ensure an even bake with little-to-no doming.

When your cakes are ready, take them from the oven and leave them to stand in the tins for about 5 minutes. Then invert on to a wire rack to cool upside down entirely.

To make the orange buttercream, beat the butter at high speed until it is pale and smooth. Sift half of the icing sugar into the bowl, adding the orange extract. Beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and, once again, beat until smooth. If the buttercream is a little thick, 1-2 tbsp of cooled boiled water can be added to thin the mixture.

If you are planning to assemble the cake as a regular layered celebration cake, begin by torting* your cakes with a cake leveller or a serrated knife.

*Torting a cake is the process of cutting a layer of cake horizontally to split it into two layers.

Place the first layer of cake on your serving dish and cover with a layer of your buttercream filling. Add the next layer of cake and repeat until you have added all the layers of the cake.

Cover the rest of the cake with the remaining buttercream and smooth with an edge scraper.

Your cake is now ready to decorate with your choice of embellishments.

TOP TIP: If you are planning on sculpting your Spiced Orange Cake, pop it in the fridge for about thirty minutes before carving to reduce the amount of crumbs produced.

If you fancy using my Spiced Orange Cake recipe to create your own take on my Festive Llama Cake for Renshaw, you can find the full tutorial here. Don’t forget to send me some photos of your finished cakes – I love seeing what you’ve been baking at home!