Belinda Jeffery

St Clements Orange Syrup Cake

This lovely moist cake bathed in a light citrus syrup, is just made to be eaten with good vanilla ice cream. Recently I had a few slices of it leftover (which is somewhat miraculous in my household, but then again I had covered the container in stick-it notes threatening all sorts of dire consequences should it disappear completely!) and I was really chuffed that even five days after it was baked it was still remarkably fresh-tasting and tender.

Two good things to know about it – compared to a regular butter cake it has quite a coarse-textured, open crumb but it needs this to absorb the syrup; and secondly, served warm it makes a rather wonderful pudding. If I do this, I usually make a double batch of syrup, brushing half onto the cake as per the recipe, and reserving the other half until serving time, at which stage I warm it up, pour it into a jug and let everybody help themselves to it at the table.

  • Makes 1 large cake, serving 10-12.

  • Cake

  • 300 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (220 g) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (240 g) sour cream
  • 1 heaped tablespoon marmalade
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons very finely grated orange zest (approx. 2 large oranges)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons very finely grated lemon zest (approx. 2 large lemons)
  • Citrus syrup

  • 3/4 cup (165 g) caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly-squeezed orange juice, strained
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice, strained
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  • Glace orange slices or zest, to garnish, optional
  • Vanilla bean ice cream or softly whipped cream, for serving

Preheat your oven to 160C. Butter and flour a 24cm bundt tin.

Tip the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl and whisk them together for 1 minute, then set the bowl aside.

Beat the butter and caster sugar in an electric mixer on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until they’re light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one is added. Now lower the speed and mix in the sour cream, marmalade and orange and lemon zest. As soon as they’re combined, stir in the flour mixture until it’s just incorporated and the batter is thick.

Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake the cake for about 55 minutes or until it’s golden and a fine skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, make the citrus syrup by combining the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring, increase the heat to high and let the mixture boil for 3-5 minutes until it has a syrupy consistency. Set it aside in a warm spot.

When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and leave it in the tin on a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Then carefully loosen around the sides and invert it onto a rimmed serving plate or cake stand. Prick the cake all over with a fine skewer and then gently brush it with the syrup. (If the syrup has cooled down and is too thick to brush on, warm it gently first.) Keep on doing this until all the syrup is absorbed. Leave it to cool completely

Just before serving the cake, dust it with icing sugar and decorate the top with glace orange slices or zest, is using. Serve with ice cream or cream.