Once upon a time I was seized by cravings for lemon loaf, but it was about 11pm and I had no lemons.
I had oranges.
There were probably more than a few years of experiments, with a lot of tasty successes, but in the end I settled on a specific favourite. Sweet Orange Butter Cake.
The reason I prefer a Butter Cake for this sweet fruit is simple. The dense, velvety texture of this cake packs in all of that Orange oil released from the zest. Butter cakes are also generally paired with a butter sauce, and I pulled the most perfect method of making a quick, super easy Citrus butter sauce out of an old vintage take cook book.
Lastly, yesterday was a bad day and whenever I have a bad day I stress-bake. While some might think chocolate is the cure all, I find the scent of zested oranges to be just the thing to lift my mood.
And then I have cake to eat, and that’s pretty awesome too.
Sweet Orange Butter Cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- The zest of 1 1/2 sweet oranges
- Juice of the oranges, reserved
- Approximately 1/4 cup of whole milk
- 3/4 cups salted butter
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Optional *orange food colour*
For the Citrus Butter Sauce
- 1 250ml jar of pure orange marmalade
- 1/3 cup salted butter
Make the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- Grease and flour your favourite bundt pan. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the sugar, zest, and softened butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (a few minutes). This is an important step and will determine the overall texture of your cake.
- Add in your eggs, one at a time (so you don’t deflate your batter).
- In a liquid measuring cup, pour in your freshly squeezed, strained orange juice. Pour in just enough milk to equal 3/4 cups. The milk will sour, that’s the idea! Add your vanilla to this mixture. Set aside.
- Whisk together your dry ingredients.
- Alternating wet and dry ingredients, continue mixing the cake on medium low speed. Fully incorporate one before adding the other.
- At this point, your batter will be a lovely butter yellow shade. You can leave it there, because the flavours are amazing – but I like to add just a touch of orange paste food colour. I eat with my eyes.
- Pour into your cake pan and make in the center of the oven for approximately 40 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. You’ll notice it shrinks away from the sides and center as it cools. After 10 minutes, turn it out onto a cooling rack. *TIP* I find cakes tend to stick to my cooling racks, so I run a stick of butter over them first. That helps them slide right off onto my cake plate once they’re cooled.
Make the Sauce
- I used a chopstick, so try to use something similar: Poke holes around your cake once it’s on the cooling rack. I do a ring around the outside, a ring around the top and one around the inside.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Don’t boil.
- Add the entire jar (250ml) of orange marmalade. Allow it to melt and become liquid. Whisk the entire mixture so that it melds together.
- Bring to a slight simmer for about 20 seconds, and remove from heat.
- Add a tray under your cooling rack (to catch access) and pour the hot butter sauce over the entire cake. Go slow and encourage it down the holes you made. The cake will absorb all of this sauce!
At this point you can choose to sift confectioners sugar over the cake, but I don’t. At room temperature, the cake cuts like soft velvet. Kept in the fridge, it firms up and has a more dense texture, but both are delicious!
And the cure for a bad day.