Orange + Caramel Upside Down Cake

28 January 2014

Following on from my post at the end of last week, I did indeed bake a citrus cake over the weekend - an Orange & Caramel Upside Down cake. It certainly hit the spot and the last slither was finished off for elevenses yesterday morning.

Orange + Caramel Upside Down Cake

Serves 8 - 10

2 smallish oranges, thinly sliced
250g caster sugar
100ml water

For the cake:
Softened butter for greasing
20 cardamom pods
4 large eggs
150g soft light brown sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 smallish oranges
100ml sunflower oil
200g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Line the base and sides of a 23cm-diameter springform cake tin with a large piece of foil (this will hold the caramel in the tin). Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4. Butter the foil, then line the base with a circle of baking parchment. 

Put the caster sugar and water in a large frying pan. Heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Add the orange slices and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook the oranges in the sugar syrup for 5 mins, or until softened, then remove and arrange in the base of the tin. Increase the heat under the syrup and cook, without stirring, until it turns a rich nutty brown. Carefully pour the hot caramel over the orange slices and leave to cool.

Put the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and bash until the pods split. Tip on to a board and remove the seeds, discarding the pods. Return the seeds to the mortar and grind to a powder. Set aside.

Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk until thick and pale. Add the citrus zests and ground cardamom, beating until combined. Measure out 100ml of orange juice. Whisk the oil and then the juice into the batter.

Toss the ground almonds with the flour and baking powder and quickly fold into the batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 45-50 mins or until well risen, golden brown and the cake is just beginning to come away from the sides of the tin. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins.

Turn the cake out on to a plate or board and gently peel off the lining paper and foil. Use a good sharp knife to cut the cake and serve warm or cold with half-fat creme fraiche.

Recipe: Justine Pattison
Photography: Buttercup Days

Pinterest Inspiration: Citrus Bakes

24 January 2014

On days when I need a little inspiration in the kitchen, I find myself more and more turning to Pinterest.

My love and regular use of Pinterest has led me to discover some great recipes and inspirational food bloggers. You can check out my boards and the recipes that I have collected here (they aren't all food related). 

I have my collection of cookbooks and will always flick through them when time allows and I do cook from them. I did, until recently, have a hefty number of cookery magazines; some of which dated back almost twenty years. I found I didn't really use the older ones as many of the recipes now seem quite faddy and of-their-time and I guess my style and taste has changed. Many of those recipes are dear to me, such as the menu I took from one magazine to have recreated for our wedding reception and celebration cakes I made for the children's birthdays. In he end I compromised with myself and tore out all the recipes I didn't want to part with and now have a little box full of those tear-outs and space on my kitchen shelf. 

I am going to bake a cake for the weekend and I am really drawn to making the most of all the oranges in the shops at the moment. Above is my starting point: inspirational bakes from Pinterest to set the taste buds going. Which one would you like a slice of?

Images from top, left to right:

Glazed Grapefruit Bundt Cake - Le Baker Chick | Honey, Orange & Hazelnut Cake - Pratos e Travessas | Dark Chocolate Orange Tarts with Orange Scented Sable - Hint of Vanilla | Grapefruit Curd Stuffed Doughnuts - Blogging Over Thyme | Pistachio Orange & Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls -  Joy The Baker | Orange Chocolate Tart - Happyolks

Happy New Year + The Last Bit of Christmas

1 January 2014

So here we are at the start of another year: a clean slate with a full twelve months ahead of us. My resolution this year is simply to make the most of it. 

Personally 2013 was a good year, but it was a year in which I saw the lives of too many dear friends turned up-side-down with challenges beyond comprehension - from losing loved ones to diagnoses that didn't belong with good young healthy friends. Lets hope that 2014 is a calmer year that offers hope and healing. If 2013 taught me anything, it is that you should never ever take life for granted, however mundane it might sometimes seem and to stop occasionally and take time to appreciate the good things, no matter how small.


Christmas is now just a blur of happy times with family and friends. It was good, but it came and went too quickly. I had planned to do many posts on this blog in the run up to Christmas, but the frantic flurry of last minute wrapping, baking and organising left me no time. However, I still want to share this belated Christmas recipe with you for Mulled Wine & Cranberry Cake. I made double the recipe so that I could have two cakes. I baked one in a round 6" tin and the other in a regular loaf tin. I gave one to my eighty-something neighbour - to say that he appreciates a homemade cake is an understatement. I take round baked goods to him every Christmas (and Easter too), wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon and a few days later the most beautifully poetic handwritten thank you note drops through my door, which upon reading shows just how the giving of a home-baked cake can mean so much to some people. I love that. 

The second cake, is nestling in the back of my freezer: the last bit of Christmas if you like. It never ended up having its moment during the festivities, but it will no doubt brighten up a dull January afternoon some day soon. If you happen to have any mulled wine leftover, this recipe is for you.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year full of Happy Days. xxxxx

Mulled Wine & Cranberry Cake
Make 1.

200ml mulled wine
75g ready-to-eat dried figs
50g crystallised stem ginger
75g whole blanched almonds
50g each dried cranberries and dried sour cherries
100g light muscovado sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 2 oranges
100g fresh cranberries
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice

For the topping:
75g dried cranberries (or sour cherries)
2 tbsp orange juice
4 tbsp red currant jelly

Chop the figs, ginger and almonds and mix with the dried cranberries and cherries and the sugar in a bowl. Pour the mulled wine over the fruit and leave to soak for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 160℃, 325℉, gas 3. Stir the eggs, orange zest and the fresh cranberries into the soaked dried fruit. Next, sift the flour, cinnamon and allspice. Mix together. 

Spoon the mixture into a 19 x 9cm, 7cm deep loaf tin or a 6" round tin, base-lined with baking parchment. Bake for 55 mins. Leave to cool, tip the cake out and peel off the paper.

To make the topping, heat the cranberries, orange juice and red currant jelly over a low heat, stirring until the jelly has dissolved.

Brush the top of the loaf with some of the topping juice, then spoon the cranberries along the centre of the cake (for the loaf shaped cake), or the centre (for the round cake). Leave to cool before serving.

Recipe adapted from Family Baking by Sarah Randell
Photography: Buttercup Days