I have to ‘fess up to the fact that I am suffering from Post Tour de France Fatigue Syndrome. Three weeks of sleepless nights due to the time difference was all worth it for this cycling fan, particularly as I got to see a perfect podium with my favourites standing atop it on the Champs-Élysées – Cadel Evans alongside Andy and Frank Schleck.
Congratulations to Cadel Evans for a fabulous three-week campaign to win the Tour! Not to mention a historic day for Australian Cycling. Yay!
But, egad, I haven’t been capable of anything too complicated this past week. It’s been hard enough just to remember which day is which. Need sleep
Now I have to endure the annual August TDF Withdrawal Phase. I really enjoyed TourdeFrancing. Hey, it’s a verb. Sure it is.
This week it’s about simple comfort baking. Nothing too mentally challenging or requiring manual dexterity. We are smack in the middle of winter here. That strongly suggests citrus and dried fruits … in this case, oranges, cranberries and sultanas (or raisins). Whipped up into a moist, buttery, and totally yummy bundt cake. It practically yells out MANGIAMI!
I’ve been badgered by the family to make a fruit cake for a while. But, hey, that’s so blah boring … well, maybe I’ve been wrong. Not so blah when you are feeling totally blah yourself. Plus, now I am SO in the good books at home. Big fat grins and happy faces all round. Top spot on the podium
This cake is a variation on a plain light fruit cake I’ve made for years. Instead of using just sultanas or raisins, I substituted cranberries for half the sultanas and ramped up the orange flavour. Very glad I did … the result is fabulous. Buttery, sweet and tart, and full of fresh orange sunshine. Do not be tempted to use anything but fresh oranges for this!
Where’s the CHOCOLATE?
There isn’t any … if you really want to, drizzle a little melted dark or white chocolate, or ganache, very lightly over the top, instead of the icing sugar. But honestly, this cake is best enjoyed for what it is. Save the chocolate for another day … or later when you get a craving.
You can double the recipe to bake it in a 23cm bundt tin for a larger cake and crowd.
This is great on its own with a cup of tea or coffee. It is also really good served with a dollop of yoghurt or cream with a little orange zest mixed in. Put on the kettle, or get your coffee machine humming and cut a slice of buttery fruit cake goodness.
Yields 1 x 18cm bundt cake, serves 6 – 8
120 grams dried cranberries
100 grams sultanas
150 millilitres orange juice, freshly squeezed*
185 grams unsalted butter, softened
150 grams sugar
grated zest of 2 oranges
225 grams plain flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
icing sugar, for dusting
*Two large juicy oranges should be about right
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Smear an 18cm bundt tin with a little extra softened butter and dust out with a little flour. Make sure to tap out any excess flour. Set aside.
Place the cranberries, sultanas and orange juice in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Bring to a simmer and take off the heat immediately. Stir and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, orange zest until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to the batter and beat until smooth.
Add the dried fruit and juice mixture to the batter and beat until the batter is smooth and creamy.
Place the batter into the prepared bundt tin and bake for 50 – 60 minutes at 180ºC/350ºF. It is cooked when a skewer, inserted into the centre, comes out with just crumbs attached to it.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove from the tin and place on a serving dish. Sift over some icing sugar, if desired, before serving.
This cake can be stored for several days at room temperature, in an airtight cake tin.