When I was a teenager I simply adored oranges.
I’d drink glass after glass of orange juice, not able to get enough of it’s sweet tart flavour. And I just loved peeling an orange and slowly devouring each segment, it’s sticky juice dripping down my chin. I’d wipe away the juice with my fingers and then greedily lick each one, savouring the last of it’s sweet juice.
My Mum claimed my love of oranges was a result of her craving oranges while she was pregnant with me, but really, what is there not to love about this gorgeous fruit?
Oranges are loaded with vitamins and minerals, not just the vitamin c we usually associate with oranges, and the perfume that a freshly peeled orange emits is simply intoxicating. Intoxicating enough that a peeled or zested orange can be detected rooms away, as was the case with my husband who came into the kitchen to investigate what I was doing with oranges.
One of the things I also love about oranges is the zest. The intense burst of orange flavour it gives anything it’s added to is like fireworks for the tastebuds. Explosive zing after explosive zing, and that perfume delights the senses.
This Vanilla & Orange cake is a celebration of oranges and bursting with orange flavour – from the perfumed zest, juice and orange segments crowning the top of the cake. Also, for a cake, it’s surprisingly low in sugar, thanks to the natural sweetness of oranges. The final touch was a sprinkling of sugar, which I then bruleed with a blow torch, but omitting this step doesn’t detract from the finished cake.
So tell me, what is your earliest memory of oranges and what is your favourite way to enjoy oranges?
- 100g (3.5 oz) of butter
- 90g (1/2 cup) of brown sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- zest of 2 oranges
- 2 large eggs
- 210g (1½ cups) of plain (all purpose) flour
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- ½ tsp of baking soda
- ⅔ cup of Greek yoghurt
- ½ cup orange juice
- 3 oranges, segmented
- 1 tbs sugar (optional, for bruleeing the top)
- Preheat the oven to 180 celsius (350 fahrenheit) and place the butter, vanilla seeds, orange zest and brown sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer and cream until pale and golden. Place the orange segments in a bowl and add the vanilla pod to the orange segments and toss to combine.
- Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder, and fold through. Finally add the Greek yoghurt and orange juice and mix until just combined. Place the mixture into a 22cm round non stick spring form tin that has been lined with baking paper and smooth the top.
- Starting from the outside, place the orange segments in a circle, slightly overlapping, and repeat until the whole cake is covered. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out cleanly. Cool on a wire rack.
- When the cake is cooled sprinkle with sugar and use a kitchen torch to gently brulee the top.
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