Spiced Autumn Cake

The sun may have stopped shining but here’s something the celebrate that things are well and truly cold now. The mascapone cheese icing stops the spiced orange cake being too sweet.

Steps 1-3 need to be completed a couple of hours before baking but if you’re short of time you can get away without soaking the sultanas and using orange zest in the icing instead of peel.


Note: This was a first attempt, later cakes used smaller pieces of orange peel which made it much easier to serve.


200g Self raising flour
4 Large eggs
200g Baking spread
225g Caster sugar
1 tsp Mixed spice
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
3 oranges
50g Sultanas
250g Mascapone cheese (full fat)
200g Icing sugar
50g Butter

Optional Decoration: Dark chocolate, caster sugar

1) Zest two oranges for the cake. Peel half of the remaining orange into thin strips (keep them small so that the cake cuts easily) and zest the remaining half for the icing. Don’t throw the leftover orange away you’ll need it later!

2) Add the orange peel to a small pan with just enough water to cover it and 10g of caster sugar. Bring the pan to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil for one minute, then drain and lay the orange peel onto a piece of greaseproof paper. Cover with 15g of the remaining sugar and leave to dry, preferably on a radiator or sunny windowsill.

3) LEAVE TO SOAK/ DRY for 2-3 hours.

4) Halve the three oranges and juice them. Save two tablespoons of the juice for use in the icing later.

5) Grease and line two 20cm cake tins. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.

6) Cream the remaining sugar and margarine together, gradually add the beaten eggs. Drain the sultanas and stir in along with the zest from the two oranges.

7) Fold in the flour along with the cinnamon and mixed spice.

8) Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 30-40 minutes. The cake will come away from the sides of tin and a skewer will come out clean when it’s done.

9) Once the cake has cooled beat together the icing sugar, butter, mascapone cheese, zest from the half orange and as much of the orange juice saved in step 1 to get a consistency of icing you would like. Spread the icing between the two layers and on top of the cake.

10) Decorate with the orange peel and other decorations as required. I used chocolate and caramel leaf shapes but the orange peel on its own is still effective.



Book Review- Cake Days from the Hummingbird Bakery

P1070934£20- Collins

My rating: 3/10

To quote the great Paul Hollywood this is definitely a “style over substance” book.

In my post about cocktail cupcakes I mentioned that I loved the hummingbird ideas but the reality was too sweet. They have lots of complicated and unhealthy ingredients and to be honest that seems to apply to most of the recipes in this book. The contents are beautiful, fun and original but generally you can do something similar for a fraction of the budget and calories. Some recipes such as the grasshopper pie have a horrendous amount of cream and the result was described as tasting like a bad Vienetta ice cream. I’d rather buy the ice cream, have my afternoon back and save my arteries at the same time.

P1070939 However, saying that it’s presented in a lovely seasonal way, there are loads of pictures which is always helpful and one recipe I did love is the spiderweb cheesecake: simple and not loads of ingredients for once!  

Verdict: Borrow someone else’s or get it out of the library- steal some ideas and create your own versions but the recipes themselves are not worth shelling out for.

My attempt at the spiderweb cheesecake with some other Halloween goodies.

My attempt at the spiderweb cheesecake with some other Halloween goodies.