Healthy January’s don’t usually allow for much cake baking. The chocolate gets pushed to the back of the cupboard (only until February of course…) and all things rich and sugary sweet are quite literally, off the table.
Baking is one of my favourite things to do – all year round, so I’ve been on the hunt for a cake recipe that isn’t overly indulgent, but is pure joy to tuck into. This little search lead me to Twigs Studio’s beautiful Blood Orange and Thyme cake recipe and it ticked all the boxes!
It’s wonderfully light with subtle, refreshing flavours coming through from the zest and thyme. It owes it’s blissful flavour to Januarys most precious seasonal jewel – the blood orange. It’s available between January and February, when the weather is just right and the dubiously familiar orange skin houses a glistening ruby red flesh.
Blood oranges are a little sweeter than their better known counterparts and the raspberry edge gives them a delicate kick. Combined with the piney and lemon notes of the thyme, the two flavours make an irresistibly saccharine medley.
To make the sponge
- 220g butter
- 220g caster sugar
- 220g self-raising flour
- 4 free range eggs
- 1 tsp of a good quality vanilla extract
- Zest of two blood oranges
- Preheat the oven to 160c and line and grease four small 5inch tins
- Add the butter and sugar into a mixer for about 4 minutes until pale and creamy
- Gradually add the eggs, one by one making sure to mix thoroughly in-between until the mixture light and fluffy.
- Sieve the flour into the mixture and mix on a slow speed
- Add in the vanilla and orange zest and mix until evenly combined
- Pour evenly between tins and bake in the oven for roughly 30 minutes.
First make the syrup:
- Freshly squeezed juice of 2 blood oranges
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 100g of sugar
- Add all of the ingredients to a pan and stir continuously on a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Leave it to simmer until it takes on a syrup texture and remove from the heat to cool
To make the syrup frosting
- 300ml of double cream
- 5 tbsp. icing sugar
- 5 tbsp of syrup
- Mix the cream and icing sugar until light and fluffy
- Add the syrup and mix until it stiffens
- Assemble the cake by spreading the frosting and a drizzle of the syrup between each layer.
- Spread the remaining frosting around the cake and decorate with thyme and slices of blood orange