Blood Orange Syrup Loaf Cake

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I do realise I’ve gone slightly overboard on the orange theme this past month. This will be the last citrus themed post for a while, I promise!

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But aren’t blood oranges pretty? They cheer me up just looking at them. I still haven’t come across any really vibrant,ruby red varieties so far though!

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This cake is so gorgeous to look at and tastes lovely. It’s a variation of one of my all time favourite cakes – Nigella’s lemon syrup loaf cake.

The candied oranges are entirely optional of course, but I just adore the way they look, sitting brightly on top of the cake. Believe me, the sight of this cake in your kitchen is a lovely antidote to all this dull, grey weather we’ve been having lately.

Blood Orange syrup loaf cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a domestic goddess”

175g caster sugar
Zest of one blood orange
150g soft butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
175g self raising flour
3 tablespoons milk

For the syrup:

100g icing sugar
About 4 tablespoons orange juice

Butter and line a 1lb loaf tin. Rub the orange zest into the sugar until the fragrance of orange is aromatic. Add the soft butter and beat until very light and fluffy. Slowly add the beaten eggs. Fold in the flour and milk until you have a smooth batter. Pour into your loaf tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until well risen and golden.

While the cake is baking, you can get on with making the syrup. Simply place the icing sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan and heat gently until the icing sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Once the cake is out of the oven, carefully pierce it all over with a skewer going right to the bottom. Then take your orange syrup and pour it all over the cake, making sure the middle and sides have had a good soaking of syrup. Leave to cool before removing from the tin and peeling off the paper.

Icing drizzle (optional)

75-100g Icing sugar
About half of the juice of one orange

Simply mix together until you have a smooth, thickish icing.

For the candied oranges, wash and dry your orange thoroughly. Slice into thin slices, as thin as you can manage. Take 120ml water and 100g sugar and place in a medium pan. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Gently place your orange slices in the pan. Gently simmer for about 20 minutes, turning each oranges slice after about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan and don’t let it get too hot! The orange slices will be very sticky once ready, so carefully remove them from the pan with tongs (silicone ones are useful here) and place on baking parchment.

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