Hungry Hubby’s colleagues are cake monsters – their appetite for cake is insatiable, and I am enjoying rising to the challenge of feeding said hungry monsters immensely with experimental cakes and bakes on a weekly basis really. When one of his boss’s 10 year anniversary of doing her job came around and his colleagues wanted to mark the occasion, I was delighted when they asked if I would bake something suitable for them.
He suggested something “traditional” in it’s flavours would go down best (I do like being a bit more risky in my cake recipes but there’s a time and a place for being a cake maverick and someone else’s celebration isn’t it!) but it should still be in the celebration cake category in appearance – making the cake in the shape of a number 10 with the help of my giant donut mould was the look he was after.
My favourite celebration cakes are covered in layers of sugarpaste or marzipan, instead they rely on the taste and texture to be what is special about the bake, not the decoration which gets thrown in the bin on all too many occasions. The zero portion of the 10 is a new recipe I created just for Sarah and it is based on that chocolate orange treat so many of us will know from our childhoods – the jaffa cake.
“Half moon, full moon, total eclipse!”
The giant donut mould is a brilliant piece of kit for feeding a cake loving crowd. I’ve stipulated 12 servings in this recipe but really, it is rich enough that you should get more like 20 slices as part of a party spread where generally there are plenty of other sweet treats to nibble on and a slab of cake per person is not required. Note that the recipe is correct – there is deliberately no added sugar in the batter, instead, the sweetness comes from a delightfully old-fashioned ingredient – condensed milk.
That is plenty sweet enough without adding more sugar and it gives a hint of creamy milkiness which works very well against all that citrus. The cake is a great keeper as it has some ground almonds for extra moisture and it is drenching in a fresh orange juice syrup when it comes out of the oven like a classic lemon drizzle cake would receive, not that it lasted beyond 5 o’clock in Hungry Hubby’s office!
The filling is a simple buttercream made in the food processor. You should read this post by i am baker about making buttercreams with various different kitchen appliances. Ever since I read it myself, I’ve been converted to making buttercream in the food processor – it comes out so silky smooth and soft, it’s a winner for me. Obviously I am only referring to simple buttercream which is half fat to icing sugar – it wouldn’t work to make the more complicated meringue buttercreams in your food processor! You need orange zest for the cake batter and every scrap of juice is used to drench the cake, flavour the buttercream and the glaze to finish.
The number one was made from an old favourite, totally reliable and utterly delicious recipe – my vanilla yogurt cake using the infinitesimally useful Silverwood multi-size, foldaway tin to bake it in. It gives beautifully straight sides to cakes and you can customise it within the 12 by 12-inch frame to whatever size you like. A top tip if your cake has domed a little on baking is to take it out of the oven and immediately press down on the dome with an oven glove gently but firmly until it levels and then leave to cool. See how flat it came out? I filled with a generous serving of my strawberry and vanilla jam plus plenty of custard powder flavoured buttercream, but in essence, it is a slightly pimped up Victoria Sponge – as classic as cake comes.
To finish the donut, a dark chocolate and orange glaze is poured over and allowed to trickle down the sides of the cake. Another layer to keep the moisture in an deliver plenty of orangey goodness. You can leave it until it is almost set if you fancy a more textured finish but I love the look of those glossy, dark drizzles dripping down the orange-tinged cake sides. Hungry Hubby’s boss lady and colleagues demolished both cakes within the day and the feedback was wonderful.
Sarah even sent me the most touching card to thank me which
(made me shed a tiny tear) has taken up residence next to me in my book nook – the corner I do my foodie research and blogging from. Congratulations to you Sarah on being in post 10 years, that really is something to be proud of indeed and celebrate over, not to mention a great reason to crack out the cake.
- Zest of 2 oranges
- 230 g very soft butter
- 1 can condensed milk 397-405g in the UK
- 60 g ground almonds
- 4 large eggs
- 250 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 80 g soft butter
- 160 g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1-2 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 50 g dark chocolate chunks or a bar chopped
Make the cakes. I use two donut shaped silicone moulds which are 20cm/8 inch in diameter. (If you want to make a single cake, you can use a single deep 9 inch cake pan but it will need longer cooking – around 35-40 minutes but do check at half an hour.) Spray or brush with oil or melted butter as preferred.
Beat the butter with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer for several minutes until very light and fluffy – you have to ensure it is room temperature or it will never mix into the other ingredients well enough.
Once the butter is fluffy, simply add in all the other cake ingredients and whisk for 1-2 minutes until it is well mixed – stop as soon as there are no clumps of flour remaining. Easy as pie! Spoon into the prepared pans and level with the back of your spatula.
Place the cakes on a baking sheet and cook in an oven preheated oven at 180°C for 25 minutes. A skewer should come out clean and the centre of the cake spring out when gently pressed.
Cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes as you prepare the drizzle.
Heat the orange juice and caster sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar has fully dissolved. Bring to the boil briefly to thicken then take off the heat.
Pierce the cakes with a skewer (carefully to avoid damaging the silicone if using!) all over then dribble in the drizzle, sharing evenly between the two cakes.
Leave for at least an hour for the drizzle to soak into the cakes completely before you unmould them, which should be easy if using greased silicone.
Make the filling by creaming the butter, icing sugar and cocoa until light and fluffy – for these simple buttercream I’m a convert to doing so in the food processor as it is easy, fast and doesn’t release clouds of icing sugar across the kitchen! When well mixed, drip in enough orange juice to loosen the buttercream a little so it spreads easily (but don’t make it runny – 1-2 tbsp juice is about right for flavour and texture).
Either spread with a spatula or pop the filling into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle and pipe onto the fit surface of one of the cakes. Place the second cake on top, sandwiching them with the flat surfaces together to preserve the donut shape.
Make the glaze to finish. Put the orange juice, syrup and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat then whisk in the chocolate until smooth and melted – it will happen quickly but keep on whisking until very silky smooth.
Leave to cool until thickened (about 10 minutes in my warmish kitchen) to the texture of thick double cream then drizzle over the cake and allow to set at room temperature before serving. Try to be patient as if it is too runny it won’t stick to the cake nicely and form a puddle around it! Although you could just provide spoons when you serve mmm….
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