Shirley’s Orange Cake

Tammie DriscollToday’s recipe to help you prepare for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is in memory of Shirley Schilg, who died from ovarian cancer at the age of 44. It is featured in The Australian Blue Ribbon Cookbook courtesy of her daughter Tammie Driscoll (pictured), a talented show cook from the small town of Walbundrie, which runs one of the most popular shows in the NSW Riverina.

Even though she is only in her 30s, Tammie is a veteran competitor. Learning to cook alongside her mother, she began entering at the age of ten. As an adult, she won most successful exhibitor in the open section seven times up to 2012, and on occasions she has claimed the same trophy at Wodonga, Albury and Lockhart. This very easy one-bowl recipe was one of her mum’s favourites and is regularly among the prize winners. Like all the recipes in the cookbook, it comes with extra helpful tips from the cook and show judges.

Why not bake the cake and then join Liz and a group of other Australian and New Zealand authors for their Twitter event as part of the Biggest Morning Tea. To participate jump onto Twitter between 10 am and 11 am EST on May 22, and use #TheTeaChest and #BiggestMorningTea. Visit the event’s official page  for more information and to make a donation.

220 g (1 cup) white sugar
125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
125 g butter, softened
225 g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
grated zest of 1 orange

Orange icing
15 g butter
juice of 1/2 orange
180 g (1 1/2 cups) icing sugar mixture, sifted

Preheat the oven to moderate (180°C in a conventional electric oven). Grease and flour a loaf pan (22 cm x 15 cm).
Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat for a minute on low speed until combined. Turn the speed up to medium and beat for another few minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch.
Allow the cake to cool a little, and then turn out onto a wire rack, covered with a clean tea towel, to cool.
To make the icing, put the butter and orange juice in a pan over a medium heat, and stir until the butter is melted. Alternatively, put them in a microwave safe bowl or jug and heat on medium until the butter is melted. Add the icing sugar and stir until it forms a smooth, spreadable consistency.
Ice the top of the cake, using a knife.

Tips from the cook
You may want to line the loaf pan, using baking paper.
Make sure the butter is at room temperature.
You can turn the recipe into a plain cake by leaving out the orange zest.

Tips from the judges
The top of the cake should be smooth and slightly rounded, without any cracks.
It should not be sticky, which indicates the sugar wasn’t beaten enough, or that the oven was too cool.
The texture should be fine, moist and even, without any holes.

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