For lovers of a country kitchen treats, this blueberry and orange cake with its delectable syrup is sure to please. Recipes and Images from Kitchen Cabinet by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe. Makes 1 x 20 cm (8 in) cake
For cake base
150g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster (superfine) sugar
Finely grated zest of 3 oranges
3 eggs, separated
25g almond meal
100g plain (all-purpose) flour
plus extra for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
Dash of milk, if needed
100g blueberries, fresh or frozen
For Lady Grey Syrup
3 lady grey tea bags
170ml (2/3 cup) boiling water
165g (3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
Juice of 1/2 orange
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Grease a 20cm springform or loose-based cake tin and line with a circle of baking paper.
- Tip the ricotta into a fine sieve set over a bowl to drain while you make a start on the cake.
- Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, then beat in the zest, followed by the egg yolks, one at a time.
- Add the ricotta and whisk again ¬ the mixture should be quite fluffy.
- Fold in the almond meal, then sift in the flour and baking powder, mixing to combine.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to medium peaks.
- Take a critical look at the consistency of your cake mixture:
If it seems too stiff to gently accommodate the whisked egg whites, stir in a dash of milk to loosen it. Now carefully fold in the egg whites.
- Put your blueberries in a bowl and sprinkle with a scant teaspoon of flour (this will help to stop them from sinking to the bottom of the cake).
- Pour half the batter into the prepared tin.
- Sprinkle over all except a few of the blueberries, avoiding the very edges so the finished cake will have solid walls.
- Add the rest of the batter and sprinkle with the remaining blueberries, using your finger to push them a little way into the batter.
- Bake for 35–40 minutes. It can be tricky to tell when this cake is cooked in the middle. Because it’s so moist, a knife will come out clean 3–4 minutes before it is actually cooked, so give it a little extra time in the oven after this, until it has a golden, slightly crisp crust.
- Meanwhile, forge your strong three-bag brew in the boiling water.
- After 5 minutes, transfer the tea to a small saucepan with the sugar and orange juice.
- Bring to the boil, then let it bubble away for 5 minutes to make a thin syrup.
- Leave to cool until just warm, then transfer to a serving jug.
- Cut the cake into slices, then pour over the syrup when serving.
- To transport carry your cake in an airtight container, with the jar of syrup riding shotgun.