I had had my eye on this recipe for months and, with the birthday season upon us again (there are a lot of winter birthdays in this family) the need for a birthday cake arose.
Considering how the year has dragged in some ways, my dad's and Nick's birthdays seem to have come round just as quickly as ever. When I think of all those weeks spent in lockdown, sitting in the garden in glorious sunshine, sipping rosé wine and wishing we were in France, time passed oh so slowly. Before we knew it, our precious eight weeks in France came and went and now seem a lifetime ago and here we are in the grey and dismal months again. As we hurtle towards Christmas we pass several birthdays along the way. Of course we are now in a form of lockdown again, but it doesn't seem as harsh. We must be getting used to it or maybe have adapted to a new kind of normal.
My dad likes a fruit cake and Nick will eat a drizzle cake or one with a bit of spice. (I will eat virtually any cake at all.) This cake by Lynn Hill of Clandestine Cake Club fame ticks all those boxes so was destined to keep everyone happy.
It was delicious. Easy to make, not particularly fancy but perfect for a grey and grotty day with the brightness of orange, the juiciness of sultanas and the warmth of spice. Especially good for the "not quite Christmas yet" season. Definitely one to make again and again.
I followed the recipe without adapting it at all and you can see it here.
zest of 1 large orange
juice of half the orange (about 3 tblsp)
150g softened butter or spreadable butter
150g soft light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
150g S R flour
50g ground almonds
¼ tsp mixed spice
For the topping
2 tblsp demerara sugar
For the drizzle
5 tblsp icing sugar
1¼ tsp orange juice
Put the sultanas into a small bowl with the orange zest and juice and leave to soak for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 170° fan. Butter and line the base of a 23cm loose bottomed round tin.
Cream the butter and sugar using an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the vanilla and the remaining dry ingredients. Mix well then add the soaked sultanas along with the juice from the bowl. Mix well and transfer the mixture to the tin.
Level the top, sprinkle with the demerara sugar and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
When the cake is cool, make the icing using enough orange juice to get a thick but runny consistency and drizzle artistically over the cake.
Cuts into 10-12 slices.