The marmalade’s original intention was for cocktail experimenting. When that went terribly wrong the jar sat lonely in the fridge until I found the perfect recipe that would accomplish three things: 1. Satisfy my craving for something sweet with my coffee. 2. Give something new for you to look at while I’m gone, which brings me to point 3. Get us even more excited about our trip to London. We leave today. I’m procrastinating packing as we speak.
This cake was more than just dessert (or breakfast) it allowed me to follow (and adjust quite a bit) someone else’s recipe. I creamed butter and sugar together without the looming pressure that it had to be perfect. I paid attention to the way the oil in the orange zest sprayed the parchment as I zested its vibrant skin because I wasn’t needing to pay attention to anything else. I just wanted to bake.
With three weeks left until my manuscript is due I’ve been working very intensely to get all the details right on the recipes you’ll meet in 2015. And while I’ve loved nearly every minute of this process, I’m tired. My generally right brain mind has been wandering into the left side more than it’s comfortable with. Wait, is it the other way around? Oh I don’t know, all that to say, I’m tired. Which makes this little jaunt to London pretty darn perfect. I’m excited to be inspired by other people’s food. To learn new tastes, new traditions and new recipes. There will also be visits to museums in between the restaurants to remind myself of my passion outside of food. And there will be moments of no plans, just wandering the street with my husband until we find a cozy pub to duck in to.
If you have any recommendations for us I’d love to hear them. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as I’ll be posting about our trip. Follow the hashtag #travelbrillianty. Thursday through Saturday I’ll be working with Marriott Hotels as they develop an idea for a healthy vending machine.
Until then, pour yourself some tea and make this lightly sweetened, currant studded and citrusy cake.
Currant and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake
adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe
1 1/2 sticks / 175 g butter, soft
3/4 cup / 175 g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups / 170 g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cups / 90 g dried currants
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons Cointreau
1/4 cup / 75 g marmalade
zest from 1 orange
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment.
In a small bowl or saucepan add the currants, orange juice and Cointreau (or other orange liquor). Warm this mixture then stir in the orange zest and marmalade. Set aside to cool while you mix the cake.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar until very light, about 5 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl then turn the mixer on medium low and add the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and then scrape down the bowl again.
Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and whisk to combine and aerate the dry ingredients. This helps keep the final cake light in texture.
Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix on low until just combined. Slowly beat in the currant mixture. Take the bowl off of the mixer and finish mixing by hand with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the cake springs back when gently pressed.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting and cooling on a rack.
If you’d like to ice the cake combine about 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar with enough orange juice (for me this was the juice from half an orange) to make a pourable icing. I also added a pinch of salt. Pour the icing all over the cake while it is just warm
The flavor of the cake is more pronounced and set the next day.