Seville orange season is, for me, easily the best thing about January. Making marmalade is a January ritual in my kitchen, and there is nothing better to cheer up a cold, dull day than a bowl piled high with bright oranges. As a result of this, one of February’s rituals is a marmalade cake. Each year, after I have made a fresh batch of marmalade, I rediscover my love of marmalade cake.
I have tried a few recipes over the years. The best by far, however, is Nigel Slater’s marmalade loaf: sheer buttery perfection. Of course it’s particularly delicious made with homemade marmalade, but a shop-bought jar will still make for a scrumptious cake. Just right with a cup of tea on a winter weekend.
175g soft butter
175g caster sugar
a large orange (or blood orange)
175g self-raising flour
250g icing sugar
the juice of half an orange (or use a blood orange for pink icing)
Heat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4
Line a loaf tin 25x11x7cm
Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Zest the orange and juice half of it.
Break the eggs into a small bowl and break them up with a fork. Add them to the butter and sugar a little at a time, beating well. Beat in the marmalade and the orange zest.
Fold in the flour with a metal spoon, slowly and firmly.
Finally, stir in the juice of half the orange.
Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the top.
Bake for forty five minutes, checking it after thirty five. You may find that you need to cover the top of the cake with some tin foil towards the end of the cooking time if it browns too quickly.
Leave to cool in the tin, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Drizzle the icing sugar and stir in enough orange juice to make a fairly thick icing.
Spread the icing over the cooled cake.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater