Citrus cake, inspired by travels to morocco and decorated with a citrus tree
Last year my grandma and i travelled around morrocco and saw oranges growing everywhere.
The markets there were full of the oranges and their blossoms, for orange blossom water.
Our driver stopped and picked up a huge sack of them to share around on the coach. I ate so many on that trip, I definitely had my full intake of vitamin c.
This cake is a Lemon and orange cake with citrus curd and frosted in torched lemon meringue.
A citrus lovers cake, full of zingy lemon and orange flavours.
I added some candied peel that i had left over from Christmas into the sponge and used it to decorate the tree. Its called Italian mixed peel, like this.
I love citrus flavours, so this time of year i am in my element.
I had loads of lemons that needed using, but rather than a plain lemon cake, I decided to add some orange too.
The frosting is made by whisking egg whites, sugar and lemon juice over a pan of boiling water until stiff meringue in made.
I was going to use my usual mascarpone and cream, but i feel like i do that frosting all the time.
I have had this decoration idea in my head since last march, but only now was reminded of it.
You don’t have to torch the meringue, as it is already cooked when it is whipped over the hot water.
Above it what it looked like with out the blow torch and with two smaller trees.
The peel i used is this one
I used three shallow baking tins that are approx 7 to 8 inches.
If you have not made a water meringue before then It will feel a bit odd to add liquid into it, But go with it.
I adapted a recipe years ago and swapped the 1/4 cup water from that recipe with lemon juice and loved the sweet tangy flavour.
To see a traditional version i have found a recipe for it here, However i think i had originally seen it on the bake off or in a Mary Berry book.
Citrus cake – lemon and orange cake with lemon meringue frosting
- electric whisk
- heat proof bowl
For the sponge
- 220 grams unsalted butter softened
- 220 grams caster sugar
- 4 eggs room temp
- 220 grams plain flour
- 2 tea spoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- zest of two lemons
- zest of one orange
- juice of 1 medium lemon
- juice of half an orange
- 30 grams candied citrus peel
- 3 tbsp milk
- 300 grams caster sugar
- 4 egg whites
- juice of one small lemon approx 1/4 cup
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- zest and juice from 2 lemons
- zest and juice from 2 oranges
- 4 tbsp butter
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 160c fan
- Grease and line three 7 or 8 inch layer cake tins with baking paper (this will make three thin layers)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment whip the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy,
- Scrape around the bowl with a spatula and add the first egg and whip for about 3 minutes, then scrape the bowl and add the next egg. whip again for 3 minutes, then scrape the bowl and add the next egg. continue this process with the last two eggs
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold in by hand with a spatula.
- Now fold in the zests, peel and juice, Add a tbsp of milk at a time to loosen the batter.
- Pour evenly amongst the tins and level out.
- Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tins for 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the tins and peel off the paper and place on a cooling rack until cool.
For the curd
- Make ahead of time so it can chill.
- Add the juice, zest, yolks and sugar in a sauce pan and whisk together over a medium heat. mixing constantly.
- Once it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon remove from the heat.
- Stir in the butter and pour into a jar or bowl and let cool
- place in the fridge to firm up
- Add some water in a pan and turn on the heat
- Take a mixing bowl large enough to fit on top of the pan, but not touch the water. Ensure the bowl spotlessly clean. i used a large stainless steel one, or you can use the metal bowl from mixer with a small pan.
- Add the egg whites, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and using a hand held electric mixer, beat at high speed over the heat until peaks form, remove from heat and continue whipping until stiff peaks form and it looks like a fluffy but firm meringue.
- Place one of the cake layers on a serving plate and add a tin layer of meringue, pipe a barrier around the edge to stop the curd from dripping out. place a thin layer of curd in the middle.
- Note; the weight can cause the curd to spill out so just add a thin layer (of chilled curd)
- Continue this for the next layer and top with the third layer
- Add some meringue on top and spread out then spread more around the sides.
- Add the remaining meringue in a piping bag and pipe on some small tree shapes around the edge. torch with a blow torch or keep white.
- Then add the tree, thyme and candied citrus (see instructions on post)
Tree instructions and template
To make the tree you will need;
- 70g chocolate, i used a mix of white and milk as i wanted paler branches but you can use dark or what ever you prefer.
- Fresh leafy thyme
- Candied peel
- Sheet of edible wafer paper
- Green edible lustre dust
- Piping bag
- Paint brush
The night before, or a few hours in advance, paint the edible paper with green lustre dust mixed with water and leave to dry on a cooling rack.
The paper will be very flexible and look weird when wet but will dry hard again.
Once Dry cut out lots of little leaves, If you want you could skip this step and just use fresh thyme leaves. Use soft leafy thyme.
Trim the candied peel into circles, (It is usually in small square chunks so just trim the edges off).
resize the template to the size you want, and print and place underneath a sheet of baking paper. (alternatively free style it)
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water and add into a piping bag.
let it cool for one minute then pipe the tree.
Place on the leaves and peel to look like citrus fruit around all the branches.
As the chocolate starts cool you will be able to stick in the leaves at a more 3d angle.
Once assembled, chill in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully peel off of the paper.
Place onto cake, and gently press so it is attached to the cake.
Add some thyme, edible paper leaves and some more candied peel around it.
Finally add some thyme around the cake and add some leaves onto the meringue trees you piped earlier if you did that.