I have fond memories of making Christmas Pomanders back in primary school, where we studded wonderfully aromatic oranges with cloves, ready to be taken home and hung around the house!
This cake started out as an experiment in taking the idea of a Pomander one step further in an attempt to combine the taste of cloves and orange, seeing as they smell so good together!
The result was pretty successful! The cake may not be a looker, (apologies for my not so good photos) however it is extremely fragrant and deliciously moist!
For the cake
100g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
150g self-raising flour
3 large free range eggs
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
The rind of one whole orange, grated
For the spiced drizzle
The juice of one large orange
2 tbsp icing sugar
3-5 whole black peppercorns
3-5 whole cloves
3-5 cardamom pods
1. Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C for a fan oven. Grease and line a standard 2lb loaf tin.
2. Beat the sugar, orange rind and butter together until light and fluffy, either by hand or with a standing mixer. I like to add the rind at this stage, as I think it helps the flavours infuse better!
3. Sieve the flour, spices and baking powder together, then add to the butter/sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time, along with an egg for each tablespoon. By the end of the three eggs, you should have some flour left, simply add this in at the end, making sure to combine the mixture well!
3. Tip the cake mixture into your loaf tin, smooth the top and give it a hard bash on the surface. This will distribute the mixture and release any trapped air pockets, allowing for a even rise!
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and springy.
5. Whilst the cake is cooking, make your spiced drizzle. This is extremely simple, just add everything to a small saucepan and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. then leave to one side to cool.
6. Take your cake our of the oven and leave for 20 minutes to cool. Once it is below skin temperature, make small pinpricks in the top, reaching halfway down the depth of your cake.
7. Pour the spiced syrup over the cooled cake and allow it to sink in.
8. This is a dish best served warm, however it will keep for up to a week in a cake tin!