‘life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans’ John Lennon’s words have never rung so true as in the past few weeks of my life. A long-awaited European holiday came to an abrupt halt after only 48 hours; around the world in four days, and that was just the beginning…
As I’ve struggled to be a grown-up and a loving daughter, even my desire to bake waned…lost in a fog of sadness and grim realities I hoped I would never have to face.
Until today, when the urge to create something positive returned…and here is the outcome of that re-kindled baking urge – courtesy of one of my food heroes – Dan Lepard.
This orange, walnut and cinnamon loaf is simple to make, doesn’t need complex lists of ingredients or equipment, and will gladden any heart – either yours; or those of the lucky people you share it with…
I can’t make the harsh realities of life go away, but I can choose to keep the sadness at bay, one bake at a time; I hope you’ll join me…
- 225g caster sugar
- 5 blood oranges, or navels if not available
- 100g unsalted butter
- 2-3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and freshly grated
- 75ml double cream
- 3 medium free-range eggs
- 325g plain flour
- 3tsp baking powder
- chopped walnuts and ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup orange marmalade
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau (optional)
- Line the base and sides of a large, deep, 19cm long loaf tin with non-stick baking paper and heat the oven to 180c (160c fan-forced).
- Finely grate the zest of the oranges and set aside, squeeze 3-4 oranges to achieve 150ml juice
- Put the sugar in a saucepan, add the orange juice.
- Bring to the boil, remove from heat and add the butter. Allow to stand for five to ten minutes, allowing the butter to melt as the mixture cools.
- Stir in the zest, ginger and cream.
- Beat in the eggs, then add the flour and baking powder and whisk until smooth.
- Spoon a third of the cake mixture into the tin, sprinkle with some of the walnuts and cinnamon, swirl them through the mixture using a skewer (I must confess to having overlooked this step in the cake in the photograph!).
- Spoon on another third of the batter and repeat the walnut & cinnamon layer (again swirling gently through).
- Finally add the remaining batter, sprinkle with nuts and cinnamon and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with just a few crumbs stuck to it.
- To glaze the cake, bring the marmalade and Cointreau to a gently simmer. Allow to cool slightly, then poke holes into the top of the still-warm cake with a skewer, and gently pour the glaze over the top.