Candied Orange Drizzle Cake

By The Caketonian

Winter is definitely on its way in Ireland (which is taking some getting used to for this northern hemisphere dwelling Capetonian) – the days are decidedly shorter, and my boots and jackets are making more regular appearances. But this just means a new season of baking so I decided to embrace it and play around a little with some lush citrus flavours.

Thanks to my trusty local green grocer, I found some seriously jumbo oranges – perfect for getting long strips of orange peel to candy.

Pair this with my old favourite sponge cake and fresh orange syrup, and you have the makings of a teatime treat that is understated but that packs a satisfying flavour punch.

I was going for a small (7″) cake since I was likely to eat most of it myself, but this recipe can easily be doubled and and baked in a 9″ pan. Try it out and let me know how it goes…

For the sponge:

  • 140g butter
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest from one large orange
  • 2 large free-range eggs (at room temperature, beaten)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk

Orange syrup and candied peel

  • 1 granulated sugar
  • juice of 2 large oranges (topped up with water to make 1 cup of liquid)
  • Peel of 2 large oranges (cut into thin strips)
  • ½ cup caster sugar


  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter (softened)
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk


  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Beat the butter and then add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the vanilla and orange zest
  • Add in the eggs, a small amount at a time and beating to incorporate after each addition. Add a tablespoon of flour with the last 2 additions of egg to prevent the mixture from curdling
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder, folding in until no streaks of flour remain
  • Add milk if needed to loosen the mixture – it should be think, but should fall off the back of a spoon when gently shaken
  • Pour mixture into a greased and lined 7″ round cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes (until golden brown on top, and a cake tester comes out clean).
  • For the syrup and candied peel, cut the peel from the oranges, carefully removing any pith and then slicing into fine strips. Place the orange peel in a small saucepan with the granulated sugar, orange juice and water.
  • Heat on medium until all the sugar has dissolved and then bring to the boil, simmering for 3 minutes.
  • When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and poke holes all over the surface using a skewer or knife to allow the syrup to be absorbed.
  • Pour over half the syrup while the cake is still hot, and return the remaining syrup and peel to the stove to simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until the peel is slightly softened.
  • Remove the peel from the mixture and drain (keep the syrup for serving – it’s delicious!)
  • Place peel strips on baking paper and toss with caster sugar, allowing to dry for 3-4 hours (I didn’t do this, but if you are after curls rather than straight strips, shape them while still warm and soft)
  • Once the cake has absorbed the syrup, remove from the tin and allow to cool a little before pouring over the glaze.
  • For the glaze, simply mix all the ingredients together until smooth and a thick, pourable consistency is reached).
  • Decorate with candied peel and serve with the scrumptious marmaladey syrup (and maybe some cream if you’re feeling particularly decadent).

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