Although I avoid any hard and fast rules of abstinence, the first few weeks of January I naturally crave a rest from rich food and alcohol. I might raid the fridge for the last few crumbs of leftover stilton, but more often than not, I am searching for winter citrus and other fruit.
As you may know from reading previous posts, I have a special affection for truly seasonal varieties of fruit and vegetables. January sees the long awaited return of blood oranges, with their distinct crimson hue and refreshing tartness. By the time the season is over they will have been juiced, sliced into vibrant salads and the star ingredient of tarts, ice cream and marmalade. And as you would imagine, blood oranges are particularly good in cakes. This one, made with olive oil, is a real treat and guaranteed to chase away the winter blues.
A couple of tips for this recipe, if using a bundt tin, always be sure to prepare it well, brushing melted butter in all the crevices and dusting with flour. This will help to prevent the cake sticking to the tin. This recipe calls for self raising flour, but if you are anything like me, you will head to the cupboard only to find that it is out of date. I always throw it away in this instance, as the raising agents in the flour may not work as well. There are various methods for making your own self raising flour. I tend to go with BBC Good Food and add one teaspoon of baking powder to 110g of plain flour, stir thoroughly and sift before using.
- 1 tablespoon of butter, melted for greasing the tin
- 1 tablespoon of flour, to dust the tin (plain or self raising is fine)
- 5 large eggs
- 300g golden caster sugar
- Zest and juice of 3 blood oranges (approx. 150ml)
- 150g light olive oil
- 280g self-raising flour, sieved
- For the glaze
- 140g white chocolate, roughly chopped
- zest 1 blood orange, plus juice of 1½ (about 75ml juice)
- Sugared rosemary to decorate (optional)
- Small bunch of fresh rosemary sprigs
- 50g caster sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- Lightly brush a 10 cup/ 2.5 litre bundt tin with melted butter, making sure the entire tin and any crevices are covered. Thoroughly dust the tin with 1 tablespoon of flour and tip out any excess.
- Place the eggs, sugar and zest in a stand mixer bowl and whisk for 10 minutes until the egg mixture is thick and pale.
- Lower the speed and pour in the orange juice and oil, mixing until combined.
- Add the sieved flour to the bowl and briefly whisk until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin, place on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until risen and golden. A skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before carefully tuning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- While the cake is cooling, make the sugared rosemary, if using. Pour the icing sugar onto a plate, and rinse the rosemary, shaking off any excess. Press the rosemary springs into the sugar and leave to dry for 30 minutes on some baking paper.
- Make the glaze by placing the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water), stirring now and then.
- When the chocolate has melted, add the orange juice and stir until combine. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool.
- Refrigerate the glaze until it thickens, but is still pourable. When it is ready, drizzle the glaze over the cake so that it drips down the sides. Sprinkle over the zest to finish and top with sugared rosemary.
- The cake will keep well for 3-4 days in an airtight container and can be frozen for up to three months.