It’s that time of year again. January. Boo. Dark nights and cold days. It was alright before Christmas when we knew we had a feast to look forward to and days away from the desk. But now it feels a little sad. Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark is no fun. Sometimes I feel like the worst part of my day is standing in the cold waiting on the train to arrive. If I were to look on the brightside at least that means that the worst part of my day is over terribly early and I can get on with the rest of the day with nothing so bad to dread (except the gym, I will dread the gym for a few weeks yet ’til I get back in the spin swing of it again)
But dark nights mean lighting cosy candles, snuggling down on the sofa, reading a book, drinking red wine or baking a cake. Not too shabby in my opinion.
I was gifted Lilly Higgins ‘Make Bake Love’ for Christmas, a signed copy nonetheless! It’s a lovely book and there are many things which I have picked out to bake already. This recipe was picked out by sister, who celebrates the first birthday of the year which falls on the third. Not a good day for celebrating a birthday as it’s when everyone normally goes back to work with a heavy heart and hips.
The cake is a simple two layer sponge cake. I’ve changed it around a little from Lillys. I’ve added extra cocoa, chocolate, zest and juice to the cake. I’ve changed the icing a bit too and instead of Lily’s suggested white buttercream and chocolate ganache I’ve made an extra chocolate-y buttercream with pimped up orange flavouring. Below is my adaption.
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
1 orange, zest and juice
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cocoa
50g dark chocolate orange, melted
200g icing sugar
1 orange, zest and juice
1 tbsp milk
Dark chocolate orange, grated or orangettes (yum), Terry’s chocolate orange segments (double treble yum)
For the cake…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or fan 160 degrees.
Grease 2 x 20 cm round sandwich pans and line the bottoms with greaseproof paper.
Sift the cocoa, flour and baking powder together into a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one by one, adding a tablespoon of the dry ingredients after each egg to stop the mix curdling.
Once the eggs are fully mixed in, add the orange zest, orange juice, milk and melted chocolate. Mix well again.
Fold in the remaining dry ingredients gently.
Split between the two prepared tins and bake for about 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on a rack.
Remove the cakes from the tins and allow to cool completely on a rack.
For the icing…
Sift the icing sugar, milk, cocoa, orange zest and juice in a freestanding mixer until well combined.
Sandwich the two layers together with a generous helping of icing.
Spread the remaining icing over the top and around the sides. A long flexible palette knife is useful here!
Decorate to your hearts content.