Another citrus cake – I know, but I do rather love making them. I love the bright, sharp flavours and that both the zest and juice can be integrated into such a flavourful and comforting slice. And buttermilk again too! I’ve said in an earlier post how I always have it and/or sour cream in the fridge just because I find them both so useful and both have a relatively long shelf life too. Buttermilk is wonderful in bakes and does a fabulous job of tenderising meat and poultry. Since I have discovered that you can buy 1L cartons of buttermilk from the many Eastern European grocery stores that have popped in this part of London, I always seem to have some the fridge.
When my son had just started senior school, I went through a phase of baking a cake every Sunday so that he could take a slice to have at break rather than buying something full of trans fats and preservatives from the tuck shop. Banana cakes, carrot cakes, date and fig cakes, lemon and almond cakes, fruit and oatmeal muffins – it was always something chock full of good things as well as eggs and butter! He quite often asked if he could take some for his friends which, obviously, I was delighted to accommodate! Now, alas, he is further up the school chain and has no room in his bag which is absolutely stuffed with school books, to take food of any kind in with him. That also means no more packed lunches – not something that I am sorry to see the back of. Now I seem to bake a cake at the start of the weekends, just so that there is a slice of something to offer with a cup of tea if someone (his friends or mine) were to drop by. I do write a food blog after all and it’s probably expected!
So to use up the last of the blood oranges, I have adapted a basic recipe for Pound Cake of which I have many fond memories from my teenage years. A slice of pound cake topped with sliced and macerated strawberries and a squirt of Cool Whip was the finale to many a summer picnic and barbecue when I lived in Canada. If you are unable to lay your hands on buttermilk, you may substitute yoghurt instead. And instead of blood oranges, you could use normal ones or even lemons. You can also use white caster sugar rather than the golden and muscovado sugars. Just keep the proportions the same and you will have a lovely, dense, aromatic cake which will keep for quite a few days in the cake tin.
This is one recipe which requires the butter to be really soft in order to cream well with the sugars. Once that is done, whisk in the eggs, one by one and then stir in the grated zest. Juice the orange and add to the buttermilk along with the vanilla.
Blend in a third of the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk mixture alternating until everything is used up but keeping a light touch throughout this part of the process. Scrape the batter into a prepared loaf tin and bake!
Prepare the glaze by starting with 30ml of juice – I made mine much too runny by over confidently adding all the juice of half an orange. Glazes should be quite thick, I feel. Once cooled, glaze, slice and enjoy!
Glazed Blood Orange Buttermilk and Brown Sugar Pound Cake
- 230g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 115 g unsalted, very soft, butter
- 150 g golden caster sugar
- 50 g light muscavado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- zest of 2 blood oranges
- 120 ml butter milk
- Juice of one orange which was approx 50-60 ml
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract/paste or the seeds of one pod
- 30 – 45 ml blood orange juice
- 60g icing sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325F and paper or butter a 2lb loaf tin
- Aerate and mix the flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk and set aside
- Cream together the soft butter and sugar
- Add the eggs, one at a time and mixing well between each. Add a spoonful of the flour if it looks as though it’s going to curdle – not that it make any difference to the end product.
- Stir in the zest.
- Mix together the milk, the juice and the vanilla in a jug and set aside.
- Blend in a ⅓ of the flour mix into the batter using a light touch.
- Stir in half the buttermilk/orange juice mix and so on – you should finish with the flour mix. Don’t over beat.
- Scrape the batter into a loaf pan and bake for an hour. It will be quite dark from the brown sugar and when you insert a toothpick in the middle, it should come out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then remove to a rack to cool completely
- Mix the glaze ingredients together to a fairly thick consistency and pour over the cooled cake.