I know I know! The summers have been good but not that good, and I have not started to grow oranges in my garden but it is winter and I needed cheering up and wanted to remind myself of the light and warmth of a Greek beach. So here is my recipe for Orange Cake tried and tested. That's important, because some of the ones I tried to replicate after my holiday using online recipes, resulted in watery syrups or sunken cakes along with very lengthy and fussy instructions.
To make this you will need an 8 x12 oven dish, greased with a little oil and a large kitchen bowl for mixing all the ingredients.
500g Filo pastry – the first task you need to complete is to lay out the filo pastry sheets on your work surface individually and allow them to dry – approx. 15 – 20 mins. These are then crumbled into your liquid mixture.
200g Greek yoghurt
300ml vegetable oil - I use rape seed and sometimes olive oil or a mix
300g caster sugar
300ml orange juice
4tsp baking powder(sifted)
Zest of 2 oranges
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Large eggs
Combine all the ingredients above in a mixing bowl. I tend to whisk the yoghurt, sugar, oil and eggs first, then add the other ingredients and lastly crumble in the filo sheets. Make sure the filo sheets are thoroughly folded into the liquid mixture and no big clumps remain. Ensure you sift your baking powder into the mixture, otherwise the powder will clump together and you will get uneven rising or a cake that sinks in the middle. I am also a bit heavy handed with the vanilla extract and a more accurate measurement might be 2 tsps; it’s up to you.
Pour the mixture into your oven proof dish and cook for 40 – 50 minutes at 180 degree Fan.
While the cake is in the oven quickly rustle up the Syrup in a saucepan.
Bring 350ml water, 400ml granulated sugar, the zest of an orange and a cinnamon stick to the boil, and then simmer for 20 mins until the mixture has thickened a little. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of homemade marmalade to mine. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Test your cake at the end of the cooking time. Insert a skewer and it should come out cleanly. Cook for a little longer if not, but you may need to cover the cake with foil to prevent too much browning.
While the cake is still hot from the oven pour over the syrup. Do this in stages to allow some time for the cake to absorb the syrup. Leave to cool. Refrigerate until required. Traditionally cut into squares to serve.
A square of syrupy sweet Orange Cake is delicious with a cup of coffee or served at the end of a meal. It can be served warmed through in the microwave after a 30 second zap, or at room temperature. It also keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days, making it a handy cake to make beforehand for supper parties or for bring and shares.