Saturday, 14 April 2012

Calm after the storm

It has been a tough start to the new year. Between my last post and now, I've been tired and frustrated at work, came close to throwing in the towel and was stricken with dengue. The dengue was the last straw. Things are a lot clearer to me now than ever before. I'm in an oddly calm place these days... which is a bit scary but there's no explaining it.

During the dengue, my taste buds went on a little holiday by themselves. I suppose it was the fever that chased them away or it could have been the medication. They're coming back a few at a time (must have been a lovely holiday place) so I can taste more today than I could a week ago, but it's still not quite there yet.

One of the few things I've been craving since 'our friends' have started coming back is the flavour of orange. It's very odd, but they're the flavour-of-the-month for me right now. I've juiced them, put them into brownies and made cakes with them. Out of the three, my favourite is juicing and drinking the luscious, zesty juice fresh. The other is eating them in this cake.

This is the latest Orange Butter Cake in bad lighting, while I was having some for breakfast. Yes, I eat cake for breakfast. It's called 'having your cake and eating it'.

Now, I've made this cake countless time since discovering the recipe on Ju's website, and in that time I confess, I've not always stayed true to the recipe. I've forgotten to add the salt; used self-raising flour instead because I'd run out of plain flour; dumped all the flour in by mistake on a day I was tired and attention-deficit; added 13 tablespoons of milk instead of the called for 12; used the zest of only 1 orange; used the zest of up to 4 oranges in sudden fit of abundance and the list goes on. I've even found that the orange flavour and colour of the cake changes subtly depending on what variety of oranges you use for the zest. Yet, every single time - despite a difference in texture and flavour - it has yielded a perfectly lush orangey delight.

Here's the recipe, measurements as is on Ju's website, written out the way I usually make it. Ju... a word of thanks from the bottom of my heart for this excellent recipe.

Orange Butter Cake
Adapted from The Little Teochew

195g Plain Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
170g Butter, softened
225g Caster Sugar 
1 large Egg, plus 1 large Egg Yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons Orange Zest
12 tablespoons Milk

Grease and line the bottom of a round cake tin (18cm across x 7.5cm high) with butter and baking paper. Sieve Flour and Baking Powder together. Set aside.

Place the Sugar and Orange Zest in a large bowl. Using a regular teaspoon mix and mash the Sugar/Zest together until thoroughly combined. The Sugar should have turned orange when done.

Add the Butter into the Sugar/Zest and beat until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer.

Add in the whole Egg and Egg Yolk into the creamed mixture. Beat only until just combined.

Gently fold the Flour in by hand, alternating with Milk in three batches. Make sure the Flour is completely absorbed into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake at 160 Celsius for about 1 hour or until a skewer poked through the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let cake sit in the tin for about 20 minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

Wait patiently until the cake is completely cool before cutting. It is a delicate textured cake. If you're greedy, love eating warm cake and aren't planning to serve it to guests, go ahead and slice of an end bit to stuff into your mouth once it's on the wire rack like I frequently do. Who cares if the cake looks mutilated after that right?


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