I first tried this cake when my sister made it for the family a few years back. We’d only ever really baked vanilla cakes with a brush of orange rind and a sprinkle of coconut for added flavour. This was a fresh take on the usual and we instantly fell in love with it.
Fast forward some years to a spring afternoon, it was a warm day but breezy enough to have a nice cuppa with some cake. I still remember our small gathering and our conversations of work, uni, and politics. Since then, this recipe became my home’s staple cake and started to embody so many raw emotions. As my place fills with the wondrous scent of orange and caramel, it weaves through feelings of joy, like that of an expecting mother, feelings of sadness, like a farewell hug and a “see you later”. It reminds me of my sister, half a globe away. It reminds me of the day I met my partner. And it usually signals a “let’s make up” or “welcome home” reconnection.
So who ever said “you can’t eat your cake and have it too” needs to dig in and just bake another. Because it’s well worth it.
Yields: one 8 inch cake (serves 8-10)
1/4 cup oil or butter, melted
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
3 tbs poppyseeds
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
finely grated orange rind, from one orange
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 tbs (57g) butter
1/2 cup cream (thickened/single)
1 tbs vanilla
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 19cm square cake pan, or an 8 inch round pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.
Place butter, orange rind, sugar, eggs, flour, poppyseeds, milk and orange juice in a large bowl. Stir to combine, until no lumps are left.
Pour the mixture into baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean (cover cake loosely with foil if over-browning during cooking).
Remove from oven. Stand cake in pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, place a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat and add all ingredients at once.
Cook while whisking gently for 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and pour into a small milk mug.
Once cake is at room temperature, poke with a skewer (all over the top), and pour remaining hot caramel sauce onto cake. Let absorb. Repeat if desired.
Garnish with fresh orange slices and white chocolate shards if desired.
Serve with caramel sauce so caramel lovers can add more to their piece!