Sunday, July 19, 2020

Mum's orange cake

July 18, 2020

A month ago I made an orange cake. It was a really great cake, but it also had me feeling a bit wistful for the orange cake that my mum would occasionally make as a treat. Although it certainly felt special to us, Mum's cake wasn't anything over-the-top, simply baked in a rectangular tin and sprinkled with icing sugar. I remember it having a distinctive lightweight but rich texture.

Mum emailed me a photo of her recipe, which is actually from The Margaret Fulton Cookbook. Both oranges and eggs are turning up regularly in our Local Drop deliveries, so I was ready to bake it for myself within days. The only notable variation on your standard cake baking here is that the eggs are separated and the whites are whipped to form stiff peaks before being folded into the batter - that must be where that light texture came from!

My cake was almost as good as I remember Mum making it, although it was a bit crustier than hers. While I have a fairly regular-looking loaf pan, I recall Mum using a longer, narrower tin with a smaller cross-section. I'd guess that this allows her to bake it for less time, and this makes for a more lightly coloured and barely-crusted cake.

While all this butter and eggs clearly isn't vegan-friendly, I wonder if this cake style would lend itself well to some aquafaba adaptation. Maybe that's the direction my orange cake-baking needs to take next.

Mum's orange cake
(actually from The Margaret Fulton Cookbook,
with a small flour conversion from me)

2 eggs, separated
113g butter, at room temperature
grated rind and juice of 1 orange
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
icing sugar, for serving

Preheat an oven to 180°C. Prepare a loaf or ring cake tin with oil, butter, flour and/or baking paper.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.

In a separate medium bowl, cream together the butter, orange rind and sugar. Beat in the egg yolks. Sift in the flour, baking powder and sugar, then the orange juice, until well combined. Fold in the egg whites.

Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow it to cool slightly, and sift over some icing sugar to serve.

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