This blood orange cake was created after a strong wave of nostalgia spurred me on to buy a handful of blood oranges from Lidl the other day. My granddad loved blood oranges and he wasn’t stingy about sharing them with me when I was a kid either. Looking back, I think he got a thrill from showing me the unexpected, particularly when it came to food because he would often bring home a handful of blood oranges from Jackie White’s fruit and vegetable market in the town centre and sit and peel the orange before explaining to me the reasons as to why it was uniquely red.
As much as I love a good fudgy, chocolate cake sometimes a lighter, fruitier cake, such as this gluten-free orange cake, can be much more satisfying because it’s less heavy overall. A while ago I picked up a reduced bottle of Valencian orange extract and I knew I wouldn’t struggle to find a use for it. This turned out to be an accurate assessment because I used it when I made my French Fancies and because there was plenty of orange French fancy buttercream left over to use up I figured I’d pop it in the freezer to put it to use again. It turned out quite handy for the orange cake.
This orange cake is just a standard victoria sponge recipe that has a teaspoon of orange extract added to it, so it’s really simple to whip up. In fact, because I only made a small cake I just mixed it all up in a jug with an electric whisk and then poured it into my prepared bundt tin. It’s that easy.
This orange cake turns out light, soft and zesty, with a nice ‘zing’ of orange which hits the nose and tastebuds from the sponge itself as well as the buttercream. I just decorated my orange cake with some orange icing, a bit of orange zest and some walnuts, but you could easily decorate it with lime zest or coconut. And if you fancied a chocolate orange cake all it’d take is the addition of 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder into your cake mixture and a little less flour.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people recently who are intimidated by baking because they think it’s really complex and tricky, but baking’s not hard as long as you follow the recipe. And once you’ve mastered the basics, such as plain victoria sponge, you can adapt the flavours that you use in your cakes to suit yourself. When it comes to baking, the world’s your oyster! Although I’d avoid that as a potential cake flavouring. Eww! That’d be gross.
For the cake:
100g butter (or non-dairy version)
100g of sugar
4 tbsps of rice milk
100g gluten-free self-raising flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp orange extract or flavouring
For the filling:
75g of soft butter (or non-dairy version)
50g icing sugar
½ tsp of orange extract or flavouring
1 tsp. of water
For the decoration:
50g icing sugar
1-2 tsps. of water
Orange food colouring
50g chopped walnuts
To make the cake:
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.
Grease and flour a Bundt tin.
Measure your butter and sugar into a mixing bowl or jug and mix.
Add the 2 eggs, rice milk and 1 tsp. of orange extract and mix.
Add the flour and xanthan gum and mix well. (Gluten-free flour can be very dry, so add more rice milk if you feel the mix is too thick.)
Pour into your Bundt tin and bake for approximately 25-30 mins. (You’ll know the cake is fully baked when a skewer poked into the middle of the cake comes out completely clean.)
To make the buttercream filling:
Whisk the butter, icing sugar, orange extract and water together until it forms a light, fluffy buttercream. (If you need to add a dash more water to loosen the buttercream more, do so).
To make the icing:
Mix the icing sugar and a dash of orange food colouring with a little bit of water, adding more water as required until it is just thin enough to fall off the spoon.
To build the cake:
Once the cake is cool, slice the cake in half horizontally, spread the bottom of the cake with buttercream and put the top back on. If you’ve any buttercream left, feel free to spread it on top of the cake.
Drizzle the top of the cake with the orange icing and then top with walnuts. Serve.
I’ve wanted to make a courgette cake for ages, but I’ve been waiting for the right recipe to come along. The other day I discovered a recipe for a courgette and orange cake on the BBC Good Food website and I decided that I’d make my own version of it. I say “my own version” because I didn’t have enough courgettes on hand so I topped it up with carrots, but it worked very well regardless, producing a green and orange speckled cake which was delicately flavoured with orange oil.
This is a visually impressive cake that’s incredibly easy to make, but to be honest most of its impact is down to the bundt cake tin it’s baked in. The shape of the tin allows for what could be a very heavy cake to bake in a fairly short amount of time because the funnel allows the hot air to circulate right through the middle of the cake. This ensures the cake remains light and moist and doesn’t overbake or (heaven forbid) burn.
Most of the recipes I’ve looked at ask you to wring out the water from the courgettes before you add them to the cake mix, but this was a step that I completely forgot about and the cake came out fine anyway. The cake might have taken a little longer to cook as a result of the additional moisture it contained, but in terms of taste I had no complaints. Sometimes recipes can be overthought, don’t you think?
I’m really looking forward to using my bundt tin again. I’m currently formulating the creation of a victoria sponge bundt with lemon curd and sweet buttercream layers encased in a thin glazing of lemon icing and topped with chopped hazelnuts and lemon zest. I bet that’ll look cracking baked as a bundt and no-one will realise just how easy it actually was…
250g courgettes (grated)
100g carrots (grated)
1 tbsp poppy seeds
125ml sunflower oil
The grated zest of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g gluten-free self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
For the topping:
The juice of 1 orange (you won’t need it all though)
6 heaped tbsps of icing sugar
50g chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 180°C, 350°F, gas mark 4.
Generously grease and flour a bundt tin.
With the exception of the flour and baking powder, put all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir.
Then add the flour and baking powder and mix. Add a little rice milk if the mixture feels too thick. (Sometimes gluten-free flour can be very absorbent.)
Pour the mix into the prepared bundt tin and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour. It might take slightly longer, but just check with a skewer. (The cake is cooked when a skewer pushed into the centre comes out completely clean.)
Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
To make the icing: Put the icing sugar in a bowl and add orange juice a little at a time, stirring all the while, until it’s a slightly runny consistency.
Once the cake is cold leave the cake on the cooling rack, but put a large plate underneath it and pour the icing over the cake, letting the excess drizzle onto the plate below it.
Decorate with the chopped walnuts and serve.