There can be no higher calling for homemade marmalade than to be thickly spread on toasted good bread with a mug of strong tea served alongside. I didn’t grow up eating marmalade in the States — in fact, I can’t remember ever having it there — and it’s been a bit of an acquired taste, but I’ve come to love its bracing, sweet-edged bitterness. Even so, you might not want it for breakfast every day, even if you’ve made enough for a year’s worth of toast.
So if you find yourself with some extra jars lying around, either because you have a glut from this season’s marmalade-making sessions or a few dusty ones still hanging on from last year, or if, like me, some of your jars didn’t fully seal and you need to use them up, there are other things you can do with a jar of marmalade. There are worse ends for it than being used to glaze a ham or Donal Skehan’s sticky mustard chicken drumsticks, cushioned in the middle of a Chelsea bun, adding the zing in a St Clement’s pudding, marmalade tart, marmalade ice cream or even marmalade flapjacks or stirred into a cake. Especially this cake. Like Nigella Lawson says, it’s a beauty.
Serves 6 to 8
Nigella writes, ‘Know that this sponge will keep its orange-scented warmth for quite a while once out of the oven, so you could make it before you sit down for the main course.’ Kept in the pan and covered tightly with tin foil at room temperature, this will stay moist for days.
225 g (1 1/4 cups) marmalade, divided
zest and juice of 1 orange, juice divided
250 g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
225 g (2 scant cups) plain flour
75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
75 g (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
custard, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and butter a 24 cm (9 inch) square ovenproof dish. Put 75 g (1/2 cup) marmalade and the juice of half an orange into a small pan and set aside to make a glaze later.
Put all the other ingredients, including the 150 g (3/4 cup) marmalade and the rest of the orange juice (but not the custard!), into a food processor. Whizz together until everything is combined, then pour the batter into the buttered dish, smoothing the top. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, cream the butter and both sugars together with a mixer, beat in the marmalade followed by the dry ingredients, then the eggs and finally the orange zest and juice.) Put in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes – though check it after half an hour – or until the cake has risen, is golden brown and a tester comes out clean or almost clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the dish.
Warm the glaze mixture in the pan until melted together, then paint the top of the sponge with the glaze, trying to distribute the pieces of orange peel evenly across the surface. Serve warm or at room temperature with a generous dollop of custard.