Orange flavor cake with orange syrup is an amazing cake. It’s a comfort dessert on cold rainy days and wintery nights. Recently I made this cake for my friends and they loved it.
In India, I conducted a baking crash course for few ladies who were complete novice in baking. During the class, I came to realize the common mistakes made by amateurs that compromises the quality of the cake. For those who are new to baking and are interested in it but have questions on how to go about it, please go through the tips below.
Common mistakes and how to avoid them
Here are some helpful tips that are very important in making delicious cakes :
- Fresh Flour – it is critical to realize the importance of the fresh flour. Fresh flour makes a beautiful sponge cake. If you use a flour which is few months old or is stale it will negatively affect the quality of the cake.
- Always sieve the flour that is used for baking cakes with baking powder or baking soda (as indicated in the recipe). This is important as baking powder and baking soda gets incorporated with the flour completely.
- Remove any lumps in the flour. When sieved properly, the flour becomes aerated and light.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda – Some of my students have made the mistake of using baking powder and soda that are old or stale while baking and have been disheartened with the result, not realizing their mistake. Always use fresh baking powder and bicarbonate soda for best results. Once baking powder and soda packet is opened it should be stored in an airtight jar/container, either glass or plastic or it looses its strength. Baking powder and baking soda are different and serve different purposes. Experienced and amateur bakers alike often confuse them due to their similar names and appearances.
- Egg – Should be fresh and at room temperature when making a cake. When you remove eggs from the refrigerator, let it rest for 30 minutes before using. You can also put it in lukewarm water to bring it to room temperature faster.
- Sugar should also be free of all lumps.
- Vanilla essence – plays a very important role in bakery, especially in making cakes. Most cakes have eggs in it. Some people can’t handle the strong smell of egg. Vanilla essence reduces the smell of eggs. This can be done for almost every cake that has eggs in them. You can also add other flavors along with vanilla essence as per the recipe given. This workaround will not be mentioned in all recipes and you may have to make the call about this on your own based on your preference.
- Butter – Butter should always be used at room temperature or it won’t mix properly with other ingredients. Hence remove the butter from the refrigerator at least an hour before mixing the ingredients. Don’t melt the butter in a pan or microwave it. If the butter melts and becomes liquid you won’t be able to cream butter and sugar, which is an integral part of making a cake.
- Unless specified in the recipe always use unsalted butter.
- Always take spoon measurements as flat spoon measurements instead of heaped ones unless specified in the recipe.
- Preheat the oven for 5-10 minutes before baking the cake. This is an important step. The oven should be preheated to the temperature mentioned in the recipe for baking the cake.
- Properly grease the cake baking container and then lightly dust it with flour before adding the cake batter for baking
- Remove the cake from the container after the cake has sufficiently cooked.
- Home-made self raising flour – The calculation for preparing self-raising flour at home – take 1 cup of refined wheat flour (maida) and add 2 tsp of baking powder to it. Sieve the mixture 6 to 7 times.
Recipe for the Orange Cake and Orange Syrup
Ingredients for cake
1 large navel orange
125g unsalted butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1.5 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
(see the notes above)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Ingredients for orange syrup
3 tbsp sugar
1.5 cup orange juice (no pulp)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
- Making the Orange Cake
- Squeeze one large orange in a glass to extract the juice along with the pulp. Remove the seeds.
- Grease and a 15cm x 25cm baking pan or an 8 inch diameter round baking container.
- Next, dust the greased pan with flour to form a thin layer. Tap the inverted pan on the platform lightly to remove any additional flour.
- Add baking soda to the self-raising flour and sift the mixture for up to 4-5 times.
- In a big bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer or an egg beater (mixer preferred) until the mix is light and fluffy
- Add one egg and beat it in the mix until properly blended
- Repeat the step with the second egg.
NOTE: Blend one egg at a time for optimum results.
- Next add vanilla essence and mix it in the batter
- Add half of the sifted flour and half quantity of butter milk to the mixing bowl. Mix everything properly
- Next, add the remaining sifted flour and buttermilk to the mixing bowl along with the orange juice and pulp squeezed earlier.
- Pour the well mixed cake batter into the greased baking container
Lightly tap the baking container on the platform a couple of times to rid any air trapped in the batter. Do this so that the cake does not form a big dome while baking.
- Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees in C) for up to 5-10 mins. Next, bake the cake for 45 minutes at 350F (180C).
- Remove the cake once ready and keep it aside to cool.
- Making the Orange Syrup for the Cake
- Add orange juice, butter, water and sugar in a saucepan.
- Heat on a medium flame till butter melts and everything combines together.
- If the taste of the syrup is too strong, you can add 1 tbsp of water to dilute the syrup.
- Do not boil the syrup. Turn off the heat before it the syrup starts to boil.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and keep it aside to cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm with the cake.
- Enjoy the orange cake with warm orange syrup