Orange blossom and almond cake layered with apricot jam, orange curd and a honey buttercream, topped with pistachio crumbs, figs, edible rose petals and everything autumnal.
This is the cake I made for my brother and grandad’s birthday, yet given the new season I used autumnal vibes to decorate this cake using an orange-purple- green colour scheme with seasonal fruits, whilst not compromising on taste. I also added middle eastern elements using the almonds, pistachios, rose petals, pomegranate and orange blossom. Orange blossom is the flower of the citrus sinensis, the humble orange tree. Its delicate petals are made into orange blossom water. The predominant flavour of this cake is from the fresh oranges, but adding the blossom adds a fragrant taste and smell to the cake. However, if you cannot find this then just leave it out. You can also replace the dried rose petals for freeze dried raspberries in the supermarkets if you cannot find it. This cake was inspired by a family favourite recipe of Rick stein’s orange cake, which I have made numerous times since I was very young. However, if you know me you’ll know that now I can never stick to a recipe, and have added elements to the cake to improve its flavour, whilst also transforming a simple cake into something a bit more sophisticated for adults. I have written all the decorations I used for the cake below, but feel free to mix and match the flavours and toppings.
- 250g soft butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp grated orange zest
- 1 tbsp of orange blossom water ( I got this from waitrose)
- 250g self raising flour
- 80ml freshly squeezed orange juice (I got this from 2 oranges)
- Apricot jam
- Orange curd
For the almond syrup:
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup freshly sqeezed orange juice
- 1 tbsp almond extract (found in all major supermarkets)
For the honey buttercream (this is the maximum quantity of ingredients you’ll need. I suggest start by halving all the ingredients, then make more buttercream if you need)
- 400g icing sugar
- 150g butter
- 40ml milk (Preferably whole milk)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp almond extract
- Figs cut into quarters
- Orange slices
- Edible dehydrated rose petals/ freeze dried raspberries (from Waitrose/ online)
- Gold dust (found in all major supermarkets)
- Sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/ Gas mark 3. Grease 2 smallish baking tins and line with parchment. I also grease on top of the parchment.
- Using an electric whisk preferably, cream the butter and sugar for the cake, for a few minutes.
- Beat the eggs into this, one at a time, making sure to incorporate each egg into the mixture, before adding another egg. Take time doing this, to ensure that the eggs don’t curdle.
- Beat in the orange zest and orange blossom.
- Add the flour all at once and mix together.
- Then add in the orange juice and bit by bit and mix this in.
- Divide the mixture between the 2 tins, and bake for 35 minutes. To check if cooked, insert a skewer into the cake, it should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
- Whilst the cake cools, make the almond syrup by mixing the sugar, water and almond extract in a pan over high heat. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Get a skewer and prod holes all over the cakes, but make sure the hole does not go through the cake completely. Then distribute the almond syrup by pouring it over the cakes.
- Once the cakes are cooled, cut the tops of the cakes slightly so that the top surface is more flat.
- Make the buttercream by mixing together the butter and icing sugar until creamed. Then add the milk, honey and almond extract and beat for 5-10 minutes until creamy.
- Now to layer the cake. Put the bottom of one cake on a cake stand or plate. Secure this with a little icing. Fill the middle of the cake by sandwiching it with the apricot jam, orange curd and buttercream. Flip one of the cakes so that the top surface is one of the flat bottoms (that touched the bottom of the cake tin when baking). Then I covered the top of the cake with the buttercream. You can also cover the sides with buttercream if you wish, but this is quite tricky to do without getting crumbs everywhere, and given the autumn theme of the cake, I think the brown cake sides look good bare.
- Top with all the cake decorations and drizzle with honey. Spray gold dust on top.
Serve with tea/ coffee and enjoy!