Oranges & Lemons

It seems that winter has arrived early this year. So early, and with such unforgiving speed, that at our house we simply weren't prepared for the onset of the cold. My house is a darling little terrace, built in 1888. It's quaint, it's charming, I'm in love with the plaster fixtures and high ceilings, but the fireplaces are strictly decorative, and the place is about as well insulated as a particularly flimsy shoebox. I've been looking for every excuse to have our oven pumping these last few weeks, and these cakes are two great reasons to turn the gas on. Two delicious, citrusy offerings that put me in mind of the sunny autumn days we're apparently not going to see this year. Put on your warmest woollen socks, and enjoy these cakes with a piping hot cup of tea.

Lemon Syrup Cake

This recipe comes to me courtesy of The Boy and his Mum. It was originally written down by The Boy's Great Great Grandmother, making him the fifth generation of his family to have prepared and enjoyed it. It is seriously delicious, and if you have a Boy around the house who is as big an eater as mine is, I'd suggest making double quantities.

What you will need:
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
For the syrup:
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
What you will need to do:

1. Heat your oven to 180 degrees, grease a loaf tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture appears light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, beat the mixture well after each addition.
3. Sift the flours and salt and add in a little at a time. For each addition of flour mix in a little of the milk too.
4. Once all the flours and milk are mixed through, add lemon rind to what is now your cake batter and give the lot one last stir.
5. Pour the batter into your greased loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes

Adding the syrup:

1. While the cake is cooking, combine 1/3 cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of caster sugar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2. When cake is cooked and still hot from the oven, pour over the lemon mixture and leave to stand until the cake has absorbed it all. Mmm, delicious.

Flourless Orange Cake

This recipe is quite time consuming, but entirely worthwhile. In my opinion Oranges + Cake = Best Thing Ever, and this cake in particular is really orangey. It's dense and moist without being too sweet. Everything a good cake should be. Adapted from the Claudia Roden Middle Eastern Cookbook.

What you will need:
  • 2 large oranges
  • 6 eggs
  • 250 grams almond meal
  • 250 grams of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
What you will need to do:

1. Place oranges in a pot and cover with water, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for two hours.
2. Remove oranges from water, chop into chunks and remove any pips. Using a food processor, blend the orange chunks until smooth. Then set aside to cool completely.
3. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees, and grease a 24cm spring form cake tin.
4. Beat the eggs together and add to the orange mixture, blend until combined.
5. Add in almond meal, sugar and baking powder and stir until all ingredients are wet. Pour the mixture into cake tin and bake for one hour.

Serve this cake with just a little bit of cream poured over the top. It is delicious warm as well as cold, in this cooler weather I warm mine in the microwave a little before digging in.

These two cakes are delicious, they make for perfect afternoon tea. Fresh and fruity, and a great way to enliven the kitchen when you're cooped up inside, hiding away from the dismal winter weather. The second cake in particular does take quite a while to prepare, but the boiling oranges filled my kitchen with a lovely sweet smell, and while my cake baked I listened to these sweet young things, their Fleet Foxes cover warms my heart. Play it on repeat for a little while, they're magic.


  1. Lady, I had this cover in my head all of yesterday! Weird.
    Also, I am making this orange cake as soon as I possibly can.

  2. I feel that you should make that orange cake Tara.
    Also, I'm backing up the Lemon Syrup Cake as being awesome! I have a different version given to me by a friend, and the first time I did it, she had written the recipe out wrong and it said "a *tablespoon* of bicarb". The cake exploded all over the oven. :/