My relationship with oranges is somewhat complicated. It started when I was little, with the discovery that I suffered from an orange allergy. I would get rashes, hives and itchy skin every time someone peeled an orange near me. So, it goes without saying, I hated them!
Later, in my teenage years, I noticed that I somehow grew out of this terrible allergy. I found that out by being able to stay close to my mom, during the time she was preparing orange peels jam. She was trying to get me involved in the cooking and I was actually able to spend hours, peeling mountains of oranges and cutting the peel into thin strips. I very much liked working with a knife (I still do) and to be able to touch, peel and eat oranges was like the taste of victory. Needless to say I started liking oranges more than many other fruits.
And then because of that and probably because we liked the process and the final product, for few winters in a row, me and my mom would prepare huge batches of orange peels confiture, giving away as presents to all relatives and friends. It was many years ago.
And just few days ago, on the day I was on my way home for Christmas, I stumbled upon a recipe for a cake, made with homemade orange peels confiture and it was an instant decision to bake it as present for my mom. Preparing the confiture from scratch makes the recipe a bit more elaborate, adding few more steps, but once you roll up your sleeves, it’s not difficult to prepare a bigger quantity of it. It is also perfect on a toast for breakfast and you can keep it in the fridge for at least a month.
But even if you decide to prepare it just for this cake, it’s definitely worth the effort – the cake is extremely fresh, moist and flavorful – simply a great teatime treat!
Total time*: 80 – 90 minutes
For the orange confiture:
2 medium-large oranges
2 oz. (50g) sugar
For the cake:
4 oz (170g) sugar
6 oz (170g) butter, softened
6 oz (170g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
For the icing:
4 oz (115g) powdered sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
For the orange peels confiture:
Start with the orange peels confiture – for this cake you need around 3 generous tbsp of it. Peel the rind from the oranges with a potato peeler – you want to have only the orange part, cutting of as much of the white wax as you can. Cut the stripes into thin shreds. Transfer in a small saucepan, cover with 1/3 cup water and bring to a boil. After 5 or so minutes, change the water and repeat the process. In the meantime, squeeze the orange and make sure the juice doesn’t contain any seeds. After changing the water two times, drain the orange peels, add the orange juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. After the orange shreds are soft and the liquid is reduced, add 2 ounces of sugar and boil for additional 5 minutes. The confit is ready when the liquid is reduced to 1 – 1 ½ tbsp and is syrupy. Keep in mind that it will get a bit thicker when cooled.
For the cake:
Preheat your oven to C/350F.Oil a loaf pan (24x9cm/9,5×3,5 inches) or use a silicone one.
Finely grate the zest of the lemon and set aside.
In a large bowl beat the sugar and softened butter until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, stirring until well combined. Sift over this mixture the flour with the baking powder and mix to combine. Add the lemon zest and 2/3 (or 2 – 2,5 tbsp) of the orange peels confiture and gently fold them in.
Transfer the batter in the loaf pan and bake over the rack, set in the middle level of the oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a rack.
Meanwhile prepare the icing. Sift the powdered sugar in a bowl and blend with the lemon juice until the glaze is smooth. You need it to be thick enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon. Transfer the cooled cake in a serving plate (or over waxed paper) and drizzle with the icing, leveling it quickly with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the rest of the orange peels confiture (1 generous tablespoon) over the icing and leave to set for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
*Preparation time for the orange peels confiture: 30-35 minutes
Preparation time for the cake: 10 minutes
Baking time: 30-35 minutes
Time for decoration: 10 minutes
Recipe (with some changes) from Olive Magazine, March 2009