Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Orange and Lemon Cake Recipe

Another birthday this weekend - this time a grown-up one, when we're not counting the years but it's a nice excuse for a Sunday lunch celebration. My sister in law cooked a wonderful roast lamb with roast potatoes, baked butternut, peas, broccoli and gravy and then, because in our family we never just have one pudding when we could have two, guava fool and choccie pudding, which are both inventions of my mother in law and are now an indispensable part of the family repertoire.

Then the tricky decision is - when to have the birthday cake? If you tag it on to the end of lunch, you don't really appreciate it, stuffed as you are with a surfeit of pudding. Instead of pudding? Unthinkable! So we all go for a walk round the farm to shake down lunch and meet up again for tea and cake later, which surprisingly enough we find room for.

My sister in law requested a lemon/orange cake, so I found a sponge recipe with lemon in and made up an orangey icing to go on it, which worked well and a nice change from our usual chocolate birthday cake.

Orange and Lemon Cake Recipe
6oz/175g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6oz/175g soft butter or margerine
6oz/175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
grated rind of a lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Oven 325F/170C
2 7"/18cm cake tins greased and lined

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk or put in the processor and blitz, until it is smooth and creamy. It should be of a soft dropping consistency, if it is still a bit too solid add a bit more lemon juice. Divide the mixture between the two lined tins and bake for about 35 minutes till the top feels springy to the touch or a skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a rack.

Orange butter icing
4oz/125g soft butter
icing sugar
grated rind of 1 orange
2 tablespoons of orange juice

Put the butter in a bowl and sift in icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time, working it in. My method requires you to taste every so often...when it stops tasting of butter and starts tasting sweet that is enough sugar, any more and it is too sickly, but everyone has their own taste threshhold so I leave it to you to decide. It's roughly a cup of sugar. Once you have reached the right level of sweetness, add the orange rind and the juice and stir in. Use half for the middle and half for the top of the cake and decorate either tastefully or garishly with silver balls and hundreds and thousands!

The children had a busy time of it, with both Mother's Day and a birthday but did a sterling job of producing cards and presents for both me and Susie. Having her two aunts living here on the farm with us (we've all got our own houses but see each other most days), my youngest often says that she's got three mothers! She was born at home here, so they met her minutes after she was born and she has a strong bond with both of them, which is great. It's such a bonus for the children to have extra adults in their lives on an every day basis, different role models, ways of doing things and perceiving things all makes for a richer experience of life. Plus on a more mundane level, at the weekends they often disappear off to an aunt's house for a while and we get a break and some peace and quiet!


  1. Sounds like a beautiful day! What a blessing to have loved ones close by... The cake looks divine! And thanks for the different standard of measurement! I was going to have my daughter get her math book out and help me convert your recipes!:) I will be baking this soon. Thanks.

  2. I'll try and do both imperial and metric measurements from now on. I grew up with one and am now more used to metric since the Uk swited to metric almost totally a while back. South Africa seems to use a mixture of cups and grams. My set of stainless steel cup and teaspoon measures is one of my most indispensable kitchen gizmos these days. Thanks for all your recipes and website recommendations too!


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!