Orange Drizzle Cake with Lavender

Oranges are in abundance at the moment and I love including citrus flavours in my baking. Particularly at the moment as I have been craving all things citrus for the past few months. Sneak a peak in my fruit drawer and you will find it packed with oranges, grapefruit and naartjies, I must have them! The inspiration for this recipe came a few weeks ago when I was at a family celebration. They served a delicious orange cake for dessert and, given my current citrus obsession, I have been looking forward to making one ever since.

This cake tastes even better the next day – it has a lovely soft texture with sweet syrupy bites around the edges and an orangy glaze on top. The addition of lavender sugar is a little twist and very subtly adds depth to the flavour. Craving sorted!
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ORANGE DRIZZLE CAKE with LAVENDER

375g caster sugar
8 fresh lavender flowers, rinsed and dried thoroughly
150g butter, softened
4 tbsp grated orange zest (about 3 oranges)
3 large eggs, beaten
375g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
270ml milk

Orange syrup:

60g castor sugar
60ml fresh orange juice
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
100ml water 

Orange glaze:

250g icing sugar
30ml fresh orange juice
orange zest to decorate 

Step 1.) Preheat your oven to 170°C and grease a 23cm ring tin well. 
Step 2.) Place the castor sugar and lavender flowers in a food processor and whizz together until the flowers are finely chopped and mixed into the sugar.  
Step 3.) Cream the butter and lavender sugar together. Add the orange zest and eggs and beat until well incorporated. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the milk, then mix everything together until combined. 
Step 4.) Scrape the mixture into your prepared tin and pop in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
Step 5.) Start preparing the orange syrup about halfway through baking. Place all the ingredients for the syrup in a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Allow to boil gently for 10 minutes until the syrup has reduced slightly. 
Step 6.) Pour the hot syrup over the cake when it comes out of the oven, then allow to cool completely in the tin. 
Step 7.) To make the glaze: sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the orange juice in stages until you have a pourable glaze (you may need to add more or less than 30 mils until you have the right consistency.) Remove the cold cake from the tin, flip it over and pour glaze over the top, allowing it to run down the sides. Decorate with orange zest (finely grated zest or curls) and serve. 

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