Monday, 13 September 2010

Chocolate & Orange Cake

This one deserves an entry of its own.

Please read first before attempting anything yourselves- there are valuable lessons to be learned here people!


• 115g unsalted butter, softened
• 115g caster sugar
• 4 large free-range or organic eggs
• 180g ground almonds
• 30g poppy seeds
Note: This is a nightmare to get hold of. Apparently Tescos et al believe we need it to make heroin. Us crazy home bakers!! Go to your local, organic, independent- they will be far friendlier and not question your drug taking habits when you ask them for poppy seeds
• zest and juice of 2 oranges
• 125g self-raising flour, sifted

for the orange syrup
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 freshly squeezed orange, for its juice

for the Chocolate Frosting
Note: This does make a lot so you might want to half these ingredients- this is a working creation, what can I tell you!

  • 600g icing sugar, sifted
  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 80g cocoa powder or drinking chocolate, sifted
  • 80ml Milk


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease and line the bottom and sides of two shallow 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.

1. Using an electric whisk (or if you are space deprived a wooden spoon and a bored Husband are equally effective), beat the butter with the caster sugar until light and creamy.

2. Add the eggs one by one, beating each in well.

3. Fold in your ground almonds, poppy seeds, the orange zest and juice and the sifted flour.

4. Spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until lightly golden.

5. You can check to see if the cake is cooked by poking a cocktail stick into the sponge. Remove it after 5 seconds and if it comes out clean the cake is cooked; if slightly sticky it needs a little longer, so put it back in the oven.

Note: If you use a knife be careful because it can look horrendous when you slide in a nice clean nice and it creates a HUGE tear in the middle of your cake when you try to pull it out if its not cooked in the centre.

6. Allow the cake to cool on a rack & move onto making the syrup.

7. Make your orange syrup by heating the sugar and orange juice in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. While your cake is still warm, make lots of little holes in the top with a cocktail stick and pour your syrup over.

Note: It's probably best to point out that the syrup needs to be applied to the sponge before the frosting. Otherwise you end up making a bit of a mess- perforating the sponge with a cocktail stick and saying a silent prayer that the syrup makes its way through to the bottom layer of sponge.

Also WAIT for the cakes to cool before applying the frosting otherwise the top layer makes a bid for freedom . . .

8. For the icing. Beat the icing sugar, cocoa and butter together gently (otherwise you're going to have to work in a very sugary tasting cloud).

9. Gradually add the milk and continue beating until light and fluffy (5 mins'ish) The more its beaten the more fluffy it gets. Use husband beating when your own arms start to ache- he'll appreciate it more having contributed to the "hard" work himself!!


(or rather my results)

As you can see I was rather impatient and forgot to apply the orange syrup before I iced the centre and put the top half on!! I think it was also retaining some heat hence the icing didn't really hold up to the job of stick to two halves together.

It does taste delicious - even if I do say so myself!


  1. Where is my bit? Seriously how much heroin are you going to get from a bag of poppy seeds? (innocent mind)

  2. Given the amount I have had to stock pile, not being that close to my organic grocery store, I could probably supply the whole of Edinburgh! Although I seriously have no idea how I would go about it!!!

  3. waw! i am totally making pete have a go at this one! amy jones and james williamson will have no iodea whats hit them....will let you know how it goes! tasty delight! MC