Oranges do not feature much in the Baking Bible, so I was particularly looking forward to trying these loaves, it would make a nice change. Mary's first choice of citrus fruit appears to be the lemon; quite a few of her recipes require its zingy fresh flavour. I could just picture the oranges jostling for position in her fruit bowl, “Pick me! Oh pick me!” only for Mary once again to reach for a lemon. I agree that I do have a very odd and over active imagination! I wasn't the only one excited by these loaves. When I announced on my Facebook page that I would be making them, I received so many positive comments. Maybe the similarities to a lemon drizzle is the reason for their popularity. I think everyone loves a drizzle cake. One thing for sure was that there was a lot of expectation resting on these little loaves!
As I had visitors arriving early the following day, I decided to make these loaves in the evening. I hoped they would still be fresh for the morning. Multi tasking always seems to spell disaster for me but I was left with no choice as I had so much to do in a short space of time! Looking at the recipe for the orange loaves, I thought I might just be able to pull it off as they looked so simple. I got our evening meal on the go; as long as I remembered to stir it every once in a while I should be ok!
The first hurdle to overcome was that I only have one 1lb loaf tin and I needed two! I had thought that I could cook one cake and then use the tin again for the second. My plan was scuppered as the cake had to cool completely in the tin. It would not have been a good idea to leave the other half of the mixture to sit around for that long. I decided I would have to use a 2lb loaf tin as well. I used a loaf tin liner and shoved a ball of foil into one end of the tin to shrink its length. It was still going to be a bit wide but it would have to do! Now I could move on to making the cake. I tipped the flour and baking powder into a bowl and then added in the sugar. There seemed to be a lot of sugar, especially as I knew that more would be added later. I was pleased with myself for remembering to leave the butter out of the fridge all day. That makes a change! As I measured the soft butter into the bowl, I was surprised not to be using as much as I had expected; maybe this cake could be classed as low fat – well almost!!! I heaved the unopened six pint bottle of milk from the fridge. With a shaking hand I tried carefully to measure out three tablespoons. A little extra splashed into the bowl for good measure; the bottle was ridiculously heavy and I had little control! I cracked in a couple of eggs and then moved on to the very important orange. It was at last its time to shine! The cake mixture required just the zest, but the juice would be put to good use later. Mary says to beat the mixture for two minutes. Two minutes doesn't necessarily appear that long until you come to time it. Earlier I had spent ages cleaning the kitchen worktops. I felt sure the mixture would leap from the bowl as I whisked, so I stood away from the sparkling worktops and held the bowl with my left hand and the whisk with my right. It didn't matter if it landed on the floor as I had yet to clean it! After about a minute my left arm ached, so I ended up standing on one leg with the bowl perched on my knee! After concluding my clumsy impression of a stork, my mixture was now smooth and rather prettily flecked with orange. Now it was ready to be poured into the mismatched tins and enter the heat of the oven.
The cakes should only need thirty minutes to cook, so this gave me enough time to tuck into our slightly burnt dinner. After twenty-five minutes I checked on the two loaves but they still looked a long way from being cooked through. I calculated that I could quickly scrub the downstairs bathroom while I waited; my back was aching at this point! Feeling hot and bothered from the cleaning session, I headed back to the kitchen to make the crunchy topping. I sliced in half the now bald orange and squeezed out the sweet smelling juice. Yet more sugar was needed. However, this time I reached for granulated. I mixed the juice and sugar together and then it was time to extract the loaves from the oven before they ended up burnt. Mary says to pour the syrup straight over the steaming hot cakes. I resisted the urge to pierce holes in the cake first as I would normally do! The syrup soaked cakes had to cool in the tins, so it would be a long wait until we could try some. I am amazed by my self control; I stored them away overnight and resisted stealing a slice. There is a first time for everything!
The next morning it was finally time to dive in and have a taste. I hoped they would live up to my high expectations. As I quickly moved on to a second slice I think that speaks for itself! The cake was so orangey and sweet in flavour. The texture was very light and fluffy. As with a lemon drizzle, the best bit has to be the sweet flavourful crunchy topping. The taste of orange literally burst out and danced on my taste buds! My visitors had soon eaten their offering and Neil declared it as “his kind of cake”. He is very keen for me to make it again! As Mary says, these loaves are not madly exciting – it’s true they are very plain but looks can be deceiving. So far on this challenge I've realised that the simplest, plainest recipes are often the best!
|Simple but SO tasty!|