This intensely orange cake is the first recipe that I tried from the eggless baking book by Cintia Stammers, published by the Bhaktivedanta Trust. The cake served two purposes - one, it was Pete's birthday cake, and two, it was a cake that my mother could eat, as she's a very strict vegetarian (unlike me - not so strict in that I'm happy to eat eggs and, much more rarely, the odd KFC takeout).
The recipe was simple and easy - TOO simple, I thought, so I tweaked a bit here and added a bit there to adapt it to something I felt was a little more festive. Mind you, I probably violated a couple of the Hare Krsna precepts with a addition of a little alcohol to the orange-sultana filling... but as long as nobody tells on me to Cintia Stammers, I should be safe enough. Perhaps, though, I should make it very clear that the Bhaktivedanta Trust did NOT recommend the addition of any alcohol whatsoever. It was entirely and only my doing.
Actually, if I'm to be honest, it was Pete's doing. (He did it, he did it! It was HIS fault! I'm innocent. Innocent, I tell you!)
The verdict on the cake was unanimous - Pete loved it, although he felt it was more a dessert cake than a snacky one because the filling tasted so rich and was so moist. He said it was spectacular with a cup of coffee - especially as he drinks his coffee without sugar.
My mother was happy with the cake, and so was I. Although I could manage only a small piece, every bite was loaded with deep flavours. A very auspicious start to my eggless baking attempts!
Recipe for: Orange cake
1-1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp soda bicarb
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup yogurt
3/4 cup orange juice (I used fresh squeezed)
1 tsp orange zest
1-1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup golden sultanas
2 tbsp orange juice (I used fresh squeezed)
2 tbsp apricot brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
two pinches orange food colouring (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly grease an 8" round baking pan.
2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, soda bicarb and baking powder.
3. In another bowl, cream together the oil, sugar and yogurt.
4. Add the juice, orange zest and flour; mix well and pour into the prepared pan.
5. Bake for about 35 minutes or till the cake tests done.
Let it remain in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire cooling rack.
6. When the cake is completely cool, split it in half horizontally (cant imagine why I had to specify that, but I have for some reason!)
7. To make the filling, put the sultanas, orange juice and apricot brandy in a small microwaveable bowl.
Cover with clingfilm, poke a hole in the top and microwave it for 2-1/2 minutes. Let cool, then puree the sultanas - whether smooth or coarsely(like I did) is entirely up to you.
8. Pour the pureed sultanas into a mixing bowl.
Add the orange food colouring (if using), the vanilla extract and orange zest and mix well.
9. Add the sifted icing sugar carefully and beat till the mixture is fairly thick. Add more icing sugar if required, to make it spreadable.
10. Spread the filling on one half of the cooled split cake
and top with the other half. Sift icing sugar thickly over the top. (I used vanila sugar that I blitzed in the grinder to make vanilla icing sugar).
Serve with a cup of strong coffee.