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Blood Orange Seed Cake

by Debora Robertson from Notes From A Small Kitchen Island

This simple seeded loaf cake is a celebration of seasonal blood oranges but can just as easily be made with regular oranges.

From the book


The dilemma is real. I love a good, plain cake with all my heart and soul, and yet I have an unquenchable desire to be fancy from time to time – my northern roots showing.

So here is my beloved seed cake recipe all gussied up with a blood orange drizzle. The blood orange season is so short I am always looking for new things to do with them to make the most of it, and that’s how this recipe was born. The first time I made this cake, I was going to watch Arsenal women’s football team play with my fellow food writers and Gooners Thane Prince and Signe Johansen, and this was my contribution to our Meadow Lane picnic. They liked it and I hope you will too, and PS You can make it with a non-fancy orange too if you want.

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150g unsalted butter, room temperature, plus a little more for greasing the tin
100g caster sugar
50g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
200g self-raising flour
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp candied citrus peel, diced, plus an additional long strip for the top of the cake if you like
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp Madeira (you can substitute sherry or Marsala for the Madeira if you like, or leave it out)
1-2 tbsp whole milk
For the drizzle:
juice of 1 blood orange
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp Madeira (you can substitute sherry or Marsala for the Madeira if you like, or leave it out)

Essential kit

You will need: a 21 × 11 × 6cm loaf tin.

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Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Lightly butter a 21 × 11 × 6cm loaf tin, and line the bottom with buttered baking parchment. Or simply use a bought liner and get on with your life.

Cream together the butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, in a bowl with a wooden spoon or in a mixer with the K-shaped beater attachment or with a hand mixer. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition and adding a bit of the flour if the mixture looks like it is going to curdle. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then gently fold into the butter mixture with a spatula until only just combined. Fold in the candied peel and caraway seeds. Add the Madeira and a little milk, just enough to give the batter a smooth, soft texture – it should drop easily from a spoon. Spoon it into the baking tin – place a long strip of peel on the top if you have one – and bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the cake begins to darken too much before it is fully cooked, drape a piece of foil over the top.

While the cake is cooking, make the drizzle. Put the juice into a small pan with the sugar and heat gently over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the Madeira.

Take the cake out of the oven and while it is still warm, skewer the top all over with holes. Immediately pour over the drizzle mixture. Allow to cool completely in the tin before turning out.

This cake keeps quite well sealed in a tin for a few days.

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From the book: Notes From A Small Kitchen Island

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