I’ve had a series of failed recipes this week, including a cocoa and almond granola which was totally bland and unimpressive, and a nasty rice pudding (and I have a huuuuge thing for rice pudding, so I found this failure highly distressing!) So when my marmalade cake didn’t fail – didn’t even come close to failing – I was over the moon happy to have finally broken free from the failed recipe rut.
As much as I don’t want to knock this cake in any way, if I’m going to be completely honest the marmalade I used, which was a home-made grapefruit one, was a touch too bitter for me. The cake itself was just perfect though, gently sweet, with a very light, loose crumb which was wonderfully soft and tender to eat. The orange soaked sultanas and pecans added interest with their juicy/nutty bursts. But you could always leave them out if you prefer a simpler cake, the sponge is definitely good enough not to need any extra adorning.
If I’d used my favourite marmalade, I imagine this cake would have been completely brilliant. So don’t make my mistake, use a marmalade you love. This cake really should not form part of a disposal strategy for unwanted, unloved marmalade! It deserves far better, trust me. I would recommend a coarse-cut marmalade, though, to give you some lovely little bites of intense marmalade flavour in the finished cake.
Marmalade, sultana and pecan cake
- 75g sultanas
- zest and juice of one orange
- 175g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 55g light brown soft sugar
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- zest of one lemon
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1/2tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 3 tbsp coarse-cut marmalade
- 75g pecans, roughly chopped
For the icing:
- 3 tbsp coarse-cut marmalade
- 75g icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/gas4. Grease a 20cm round, deep cake tin, ideally one with a loose base, and line the base with baking paper.
- Combine the sultanas and orange juice in a small bowl and set aside to soak.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric hand whisk for about a minute until creamy. Beat in both the sugars for around five minutes until the mixture is fluffy and a pale creamy colour.
- Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, ensuring each addition is well incorporated before adding the next.
- Beat in the lemon and orange zest.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt over the mixture and fold in gently with a large metal spoon until no streaks of flour remain.
- Remove the sultanas from the orange juice and add to the mixture along with 3 tbsp of the juice, the chopped pecans and 3 tbsp of marmalade. Fold in until evenly distributed throughout the mix.
- Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and spread to even it off. Bake for about 50 minutes until a dark, golden brown colour and the centre springs back when pressed. (If it looks like the top is catching, cover with a sheet of foil).
- Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Warm the remaining marmalade gently in a small saucepan until a little runny, then spread over the warm cake. Allow the cake to cool.
- Once the cake is completely cool, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in enough of the water to form a drizzling consistency. Using a metal spoon, drizzle the icing over the cake and allow to set.