It’s so cold outside I’ve been very thankful to be inside baking this week! I was asked to bake a cake for a friend with orange and lemon and it had to be gluten free. The cake is half orange, half lemon and I’ve named it St. Clement’s cake after the children’s rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons’. The gluten free flour gives it a very light texture and along with the light, citrusy flavour it makes this a very moreish cake.
The nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons’ appears to have originated before the 1700’s in London. It is a song referring to various churches in London and nearby occupations. ‘Oranges and Lemons – say the bells of St. Clements,’ refers to the church of St. Clements and nearby docks where merchants unloaded citrus fruits.
300g Butter, softened
300g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs, beaten
300g Gluten Free Self-Raising Flour (I use Dove’s Farm)
2 Teaspoons Gluten Free Baking Powder
6 Tablespoons Milk (Any milk seems to work fine with this recipe)
1 Lemon – zest and juice (separated)
1 Orange – zest and juice (separated)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
250g Icing Sugar
150g Butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 180c and prepare 3 x 8” round cake tins NOTE: If you don’t have 3 tins, bake the cakes individually; gluten free cakes are very crumbly to cut and it’s not advisable to bake one cake and attempt to cut it into three layers. You could just make an ordinary two layer sponge cake but it is rather special with three layers. I’ve given instructions for a mixed orange and lemon sponge but you can separate the layers into orange or lemon.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, zest of the orange and the lemon (reserve the juice) and milk. Mix together ensuring everything is blended. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
While the cakes are baking, make some syrup in a pan with the juice from the orange and lemon and the two tablespoons of granulated sugar. Stir continuously while bringing to the boil to dissolve the sugar then allow the mixture to boil for a while to thicken a little. You will need to reserve 1 tablespoon of the syrup and then brush the rest over the top of the cakes as soon as they come out of the oven.
Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing them from their tins and do so very carefully as gluten free cakes can be very crumbly.
The buttercream filling between the three layers is made by beating together the 250g icing sugar with 160g softened butter and the 1 tablespoon reserved syrup. Beat well for a few minutes until really soft and creamy then build up your cake with the filling in between each layer. Dust a little icing sugar over the top and there you have your deliciously moist, citrusy St. Clement’s cake.
NOTE: If you don’t want to make a Gluten free cake use ordinary self-raising flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder, 6 eggs and no milk.