Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Really Beautiful Orange Cake - Belinda Jeffery Recipe

This cake is again from Belinda Jeffery’s Mix and Bake book. I think I’m going to try nearly all the recipes in this book. So far, this book hasn’t disappointed. All the cakes and muffins are so easy to make. Most of them really are just mix and bake recipes, taking 30 minutes to prepare. But the vital part is that all the cakes taste so good. The flavours are beautiful, without being insanely sweet or rich if you don’t want it to be.

This orange cake epitomizes the philosophy of the book. I have already made this cake four times, such is the speed that it disappears from the fridge. It is extremely easy to make, but produces the most wonderful orange cake. It’s the best orange cake I’ve ever tasted. It can work simply by itself, or you can dress it up with a frosting and/or candied zest. The only change I’ve made to the recipe is to drop the sugar from 2 cups to 1.5 cups and to half the glaze. I found this produced an even better cake as the flavours of the orange shone through even more unmasked by the extra sweetness.

Belinda uses a food processor to make this cake, but I've also done it by using a hand mixer and that works great too. If using a hand mixer, you cream the butter and sugar and then add the eggs, following with the other wet ingredients and finishing with the dry ingredients.

Some tips to help you make a successful cake.
* Don't over process the mixture once the flour is added or it can cause the cake to toughen.

* Use the concentrated orange juice drink rather than orange juice. The added intensity of the concentrate really does work well in this cake.

* Use an oven thermometer to ensure the temperature is correct as this cake will burn quite easily. It's also a very delicate cake so let it cool before glazing it.

* I find it unnecessary to add another icing as the glaze is quite sweet already.

* Butter and flour the tin really well as the cake is delicate and if it sticks, it will break apart when you try to take it out.

A Really Beautiful Orange Cake
Adapted from Belinda Jeffery's recipe
Makes a large 26cm round tin or a bundt tin

3 cups plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 eggs
1 ½ cups castor sugar
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1 cup buttermilk
finely grated zest of 3 oranges
2 ½ tablespoons of concentrated orange juice drink
80g dried cranberries (optional)

Orange Glaze
½ cup icing sugar mixture, sifted
30 ml concentrated orange juice drink
15g unsalted butter, melted


1) Preheat oven to 150C. Butter and flour a large bundt tin (approximately 26cm).
2) Put flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into food processor and whiz until they’re well mix. Pour into bowl and set aside. Put eggs and sugar into food processor and whiz for 1 minute. Add the chunks of butter and process for another minute until thick and creamy. Add the buttermilk, orange zest and concentrated orange juice and whiz for 10 seconds. Add flour mixture and blend it all until just combined.
3) Add cranberries into batter if using them. I omitted these as I wanted just the orange flavours of the cake. Spoon mixture into bundt tin and smooth surface.
4) Bake for 70 minutes until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
5) For the glaze, put all ingredients into a bowl and whisk them together until smooth. Turn out cooled cake and brush glaze all over cake, remembering to brush the central hollow.
6) Serve with a dusting of icing sugar when cooled, or orange icing with candied zest. To make orange icing, mix until smooth 1 cup of icing sugar mixture with 2-3 tablespoons of concentrated orange juice drink and grated zest of 1 orange.


  1. I am interested in seeing what your cake looks like when sliced. I made this cake today, the skewer came out clean after I baked the cake for 85 minutes. But since the cake has cooled, it has shrunk & looks like a mud cake does inside. Is this not cooked or does the buttermilk make it look mud- like??

  2. Anonymous, it sounds like the cake is cooked if the skewer comes out clean. When I make the cake, the texture is definitely not light and airy, but I wouldn't say it's quite as dense as a mud cake. It's halfway in between, leaning more towards the mud cake side.

    Have you tried eating the cake? How do you like it?

  3. I made this cake recently and took it to tennis....everybody asked me for the recipe. it is the best orange cake ever! And I do A LOT of baking.

  4. Anonymous, I'm so glad you like the cake.

  5. Can I make these in smaller size like muffins? I would like to treat my family and friends.

    1. I can't see why not. The flavours would be the same and it would taste great.

  6. I’ll definitely be making these… perfect for my hubby and I! I love the idea of being able to have cake… without ending up with tons of leftovers.