I’m not as confident a baker as I am a cook of savoury things. I’m not by nature a precise person and I think that’s why cakes don’t appeal to me as much – one mistake and things can fall flat literally. Baking doesn’t have the luxury of being able to be rescued like most savoury food can. There is also the small fact that I have very little self-control when left in the house with a cake tin full of something delicious so I try to only bake when I know I will have lots of hungry mouths to feed.
We were heading to Yosemite this past weekend, camping with two other families. We had 7 children between us and divided up cooking duties. I’ve been itching to try a bundt cake for ages and knew I’d have plenty of people to dispose of it if I took one along. I bought my bundt tin for $1 at a garage sale a few months back and wasn’t sure how well it would do. I was hoping I’d avoid a stuck-bundt disaster and I was pleased that this recipe and my bargain tin worked out just beautifully.
The recipe I’d found that appealed to me most was from the beautiful ‘What Katie Ate’ book. Katie made her cake with blood orange which gave it a beautiful pinky red colour. It isn’t blood orange season just now so I picked oranges from our garden to go into our cake. We have a bee-filled rosemary bush growing just next to our orange tree so that area of the garden always smells amazing and I knew that a little rosemary in this cake would work beautifully with the orange. I’m mad for combining herbs with citrus at the moment so combinations of herbs and lemon, orange and grapefruit are popping up in all sorts of meals for us.
I almost always weigh my baking ingredients as I find it much more precise, however this recipe used cup measurements so I went with them and use them in my version of the recipe below. I have added weight measurements too if that is what you prefer.
Ingredients for the cake:
225g (8oz or 2 sticks) butter, softened
200g (7oz or 1 cup) golden, unbleached sugar
2 teaspoons Cointreau or Triple Sec
3 large eggs
3 sprigs rosemary (I used a single long piece that measured 30cm)
260g (9oz or 2 cups) all-purpose, plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
Ingredients for the syrup:
Juice and Zest of 4 oranges
1 tablespoon sugar
1. Grease a 6 cup capacity bundt tin (or use a 9 inch springform cake tin)
2. Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F
3. Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar along with the zest of the 2 oranges until light and creamy. This takes around 10 minutes.
4. While the sugar and butter creams, peel your two oranges and cut them into segments before blitizing them in a food processor with the rosemary leaves. Puree them until you get a pulp and the leaves are finely chopped. I got 6oz of purée when I made this so use that as a guide as to how much liquid you need – some oranges or less juicy than others.
5. Add the Cointreau to the butter and sugar mixture along with the orange and rosemary and mix again until combined
6. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl so that they are well combined
7. Whisk the eggs together in another bowl then, with the electric mixer on a low speed, add half the egg and half the flour to the batter. Mix then add the remaining flour and egg and mix again until everything is well incorporated (see below picture)
8. Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt tin and smooth the top before putting in the oven and baking for 45-50 minutes until the top is golden and a cocktail stick comes out clean when you poke it in.
9. While the cake cooks, zest and juice 4 oranges and put them in a small pan with the tablespoon of sugar. Boil carefully then simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the liquid is reduced and syrupy.
10. When the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool for a few minutes before flipping it out onto a wire rack and removing the tin so that it can cool further.
11. While it is still warm, prick the top of the cake all over with a cocktail stick, put a plate under the cooling rack to catch the drips and carefully spoon over the syrup.