Orange Marmalade Cake



My love affair with marmalade began only recently when my friend Amanda gave me a jar she had made from the winter crop of knobbly-skinned Seville oranges. Her  recipe comes from Ian Tamblyn’s great aunt Alicia, Ian being Amanda’s partner as well as a prolific, award-winning folk singer, songwriter, adventurer and playwright. Making Aunt Alicia’s marmalade is a three-day process that involves squeezing and reserving the juice, steeping the seeds and pith in water overnight, boiling the rinds and letting them sit, boiling the rinds again with sugar, the juice, and the pit-soaking water, sterilizing jars and melting wax. Quite a lot of work, but in the end she has exquisite marmalade, not as stiff as commercial marmalade and not overly sweet, just luscious orange bittersweetness spread on our toast in the morning. We ate it up in no time.

Alas, there was none left when I spied this recipe for Orange Marmalade Cake on The New York Times Cooking website. It’s from Melissa Clark, who was inspired by Nigel Slater, British cookbook writer and columnist for The Guardian newspaper. (See how recipes get passed around?) Clark increased the amount of marmalade in the cake and added some to the glaze. She also added lime zest to the batter. She emphatically warns against making this cake with anything but traditional British, coarse-cut, bitter orange marmalade (in other words, avoid at all costs the cheaper, psychedelic orange stuff you will find in supermarkets), so I did just that and loved the results. I just added a couple of drops of water to the glaze to thin it out for easier spreading.

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Melissa Clark follows Nigel Slater’s lead and bakes this in a loaf pan, but I thought a round cake would be pleasing, although if you follow this route the cake will require less cooking time, so keep your eye on it. Either way, this is a very pretty, rich butter cake infused with citrus and orange rind, with an irresistible marmalade glaze. A kind of fruit cake, if you will. Wrap it well and it will last for days at room temperature.

Orange Marmelade Cake
  • 215 grams coarse-cut orange marmalade (2/3 cup), divided
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus ½ tablespoon for glaze, and more for greasing pan
  • 150 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 190 grams all-purpose flour (1½ cups)
  • 7 grams baking powder (1½ teaspoons)
  • 3 grams fine sea salt (3/4 teaspoon)
  • 30 grams confectioners' sugar (4 tablespoons)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coarsely chop any extra-large chunks of peel in the marmalade. (I did this by running a sharp knife through the marmalade in the measuring cup) Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, or a 9-inch round pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together softened butter, sugar, lime zest and orange zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Beat in ⅓ cup marmalade and the orange juice.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Fold dry ingredients into wet until just combined.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until surface of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre emerges clean, 50 to 55 minutes (or less if you use a 9-inch pan). Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes; turn cake out of pan and place on rack right-side up. Place a rimmed baking sheet under rack to catch the glaze.
  5. Heat remaining ⅓ cup marmalade in a small pot over low heat until melted, adding a couple of drops of water if it seems overly stiff; whisk in confectioners' sugar and ½ tablespoon butter until smooth. Slather warm glaze over top of cake, allowing some to drizzle down the sides. Cool completely before slicing.

3 thoughts on “Orange Marmalade Cake

    1. Louise Crosby Post author

      Hi, Fida. I used Robertson’s Thick Cut Orange Marmalade, made with Seville oranges, that I found at Metro. I think Loblaws also sells it. It’s made “By appointment to her Majesty the Queen,” so definitely a UK brand.


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