apologies if my prose is a little rusty, its been a while. like the seasons, our blog has lain dormant now for a while, but under the surface things are starting to stir. as we previously mentioned, the liberation from our previous labour of love has given us more time to explore new elements of cooking.... and that has included the dark art of baking.
i stand by my statement that baking cakes is a science, which requires absolute accuracy and timing, and is therefore not suited to all. however, in the last few weeks i have attempted three different sponge cake recipes, and i can confidently say that my reluctance to bake has been overcome in a big way. it all started with this recipe for an orange cake with an orange butter cream filling.
i specifically chose this recipe with our commitment to be more seasonally aware at the forefront of my mind. although not native to the uk, oranges are at their best during this time of year on the continent; spain, cyprus and turkey for example. although supermarkets enable us to eat oranges all year round, there is a significantly different flavour to those available from the above compared with those from further afield.
as well as being a virgin to baking, it was also the first time that i had used our kenwood chef with intent. under the watchful eye and tutelage of my fair lady, i was shown the basics of this wondrous machine. the only variation i made to the recipe was to follow a priceless tip from lou's friend who stats that;
instead of the basic formula of two eggs, and four ounces of butter, sugar and flour. this tip is to measure the two eggs, in their shells, and then equally match this weight with the remaining three ingredients. that tip was passed on by a professional baker, so its a top tip.
unfortunately my naivety of baking then manifested itself in a fundamental error; as i baked the resulting cake in an oven at 180° instead of 160° - the recipe of course was referring to a conventional oven, as opposed to our fan oven. the resulting sponge was slightly too firm, despite lou's diplomatic reassurance that it wasn't.
the orange butter cream however was a triumph. instead of a typical butter cream which has water added to bind the icing sugar, this recipe used freshly squeezed orange juice. the resulting cream was devilishly sweet and punchy.
is it worth waiting for?
the density of the sponge was deplorable, but the butter cream filling and the orange frosting dragged the resulting cake kicking and screaming into the realms of respectability. the inherent sweetness and tanginess of the oranges, found in all three elements of the cake, was at its best and lifted the cake above a plain sponge. i learnt a lot from this cake, and i won't make the same mistake twice.
from start to plate : one hour (with time to cool)
seasonal ingredient : seville oranges