Wholemeal Orange Cake with Earl Grey Icing Recipe

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Cakes River Cottage HandbookThe bergamot orange is one of those slightly confused citrus fruits that doesn’t quite know what it is. Its flavour lies somewhere between a sweet orange and a grapefruit, but it is yellow in colour and could be mistaken for a lemon, were it not for its slightly pear-like shape. Unquestionably, it is the bergamot’s fragrant oil, used to flavour and scent Earl Grey tea, which gives this muddled fruit its status in the citrus world. The combination of a surprisingly light wholemeal orange cake and an aromatic Earl Grey icing is a firm favourite with my family.

  • Yield: 8 to 10 Servings


For the cake
  • 100 g self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 75 g self-raising white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 175 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
  • 1 (50 ml) Unwaxed orange juice plus finely grated zest
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
For the filling
  • 1 quantity Cream cheese topping flavoured with orange zest
For the topping
  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  • 250 g unrefined icing sugar
  • 12 walnut halves
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Sift the wholemeal and self-raising flours together with the baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and orange zest to a cream, using either a wooden spoon or a hand-held electric whisk. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding 1 tbsp flour with each. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the remaining flour. Finally fold in the orange juice.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins, spreading it out lightly and evenly with the back of the spoon. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until cooked and the centre springs back into shape when lightly touched with a finger.
  4. Leave the cakes in the tins for 5–10 minutes before turning out and placing on a wire rack to cool. When cold, sandwich together with the cream cheese filling.
  5. For the Earl Grey icing, infuse the tea bag in 2 tbsp boiling water for about 5 minutes, then remove. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Little by little, add the tea to the icing sugar, beating until thick and glossy. Using a palette knife, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Decorate with the walnut halves.
  6. This cake will keep for 3–4 days in an airtight tin.

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