Ruby Orange Syrup Cake

If you have been a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I absolutely love lemon cakes. They've featured in quite a few of my posts in some way. I love lime and orange in baking, too, but tend to go back to similar recipes again and again ie lemon. So I'm always quite taken when I see something that speaks to this lesser used citrussy corner of my baking mojo, and in a new way.  

A little while ago, I saw a post that caught my eye due to the use of blood oranges and the method used for making the cake. In an unashamed 'nod' to one of my favourite baking blogs, the cake in this post was inspired by the Caked Crusader's Middle Eastern Blood Orange Cake. CC based her version on a Claudia Roden recipe, and it included simmering the oranges before making a puree out of them. I've heard of that method before, but didn't get adventurous enough to try it on this occasion.  

But I have been thinking recently a lot of lemon drizzle cakes, too. Thoughts of voluptuous sponge with that sharp crackling of lemon infused sugar topping had me swooning. I even got as far as looking for a new recipe to try, and ventured into the Primrose Bakery Book to try their lemon drizzle loaf. Sadly, and feeling almost as deflated as my finished cake (which had sunk in the middle) it didn't work for me. I don't know why. I've seen other blogs where it's been a triumph of lemony goodness. So maybe it was me.
But then I saw these Ruby Oranges in my local supermarket, with their cheery, rosy hue.

Remembering CC's post, and never having tried blood oranges before, I found myself putting a bag in my trolley. They languished in my fridge for a few days though, before I managed to get some time to indulge in some baking. Then, thumbing through some books, including GBBO's Learn to Bake, I found a recipe for a sticky lemon syrup cake that looked really easy. I started pondering though, whether it would work with the oranges. So took the plunge, and with a few other tweaks to the recipe, voila!
The result is this simple yet gorgeous, light cake, that is moist from the syrup. The cake batter is speckled with orange zest, and the juice from the oranges made the most amazingly coloured ruby syrup. It's not too sweet,and is beautifully fragrant from the oranges. This cake got the thumbs up from Mike, who is sometimes so caked out these days after my experimenting that his enthusiasm is difficult to muster. 

So that means it's very good.
Ruby Orange Syrup Cake
200g softened unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
2 ruby oranges (washed to remove the wax)
250g self-raising flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
100ml milk at room temperature
For the syrup
100g caster sugar
juice from the two oranges
Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180 conventional / 350F / Gas 4. Lightly grease an 8 inch (20.5cm) loose based cake tin (don't use a sandwich pan - you need something a little deeper at about 4 inches). Cut out a circle from some baking parchment that is about 13 inches (32cm) in diameter. Push it into the cake tin to line it. You'll need to make little pleats in the side every so often to ensure it fits - just try and do this as neatly as you can. I think it's important that you use one sheet of paper, so that when you pour the syrup in later, it won't leak out of the bottom.
Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream them together for a few minutes so that the mix is pale and fluffy and all the sugar has dissolved. Finely grate the zest from the two oranges carefully (so you don't get the white pith), and add this to the butter and sugar. Blend a moment just to mix in.
Beat the eggs lightly in a small jug, and then, bit by bit, add them to the bowl mixing well after each addition to incorporate. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl, add the milk, and mix in until just incorporated and smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and level the top. 
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 50 minutes, until it is risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove and place the tin on a wire rack.
Juice the two oranges, then make up the syrup by stirring the caster sugar into the orange juice until it has just started to dissolve. Using your skewer, and while the cake is still warm, carefully prick the cake all over all the way through to the base. Pour all the syrup over the cake. Leave to cool completely.

Once cooled, kept in an airtight container it should keep for 4 days or so. That's if it lasts that long.

There is more than a hint of sunshine in this cake, so with Spring nearly here and Easter just around the corner, I think it's the perfect little bit of sunshine with your morning cuppa.




  1. Heavenly! Moist, sweet and fragrant with orange... Love how you can see all those gorgeous speckles of orange in the batter before it's cooked too! Bookmarking this!

    1. Thanks Katharine - I love the way the zest runs through the batter , too. Although the picture doesn't show it very well, the ruby syrup also tinges the cake slightly where it runs through, too. I thought it looked ever so lovely! :)

  2. An orange drizzle can easily be as delicious as a lemon drizzle. Yours looks so juicy and tempting. I also tend to stick with lemon flavours despite also liking orange and lime. Sometimes I find oranges can be a bit unpredictable flavourwise, a bit dry or overly sharp. However when they're good they're soooo good! Love the colour of the juice in that second last picture.

    1. Thanks Jo - I thought the colour was really spectacular. I know what you mean about oranges - they can definitely be a bit hit and miss! :)

  3. I think this might be the only bit of sunshine we will be getting with our cuppa - no sign of the real thing over here :-( This cake looks delicious and beautifully moist.

    1. Thanks Angeka - we're a few days further on now and you might be right. Lots of horrible, cold grey weather in Cardiff. :(

  4. wow - you're blood oranges are a much better colour than mine. Yours are full on red, mine were a rather pathetic pink!

    1. I didn't know what to expect. They didn't look it from the outside - just a gentle glow on one side. It was when I cut them open their full glory was revealed. :)


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