The timeless combination of orange and poppyseed flavours swirled through a golden, fluffy sponge cake is one recipe that will never go out of fashion. Serve a thick slice of this beautiful, moist fruity cake with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream for a perfect dessert any time of year.
1.Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease and line base and sides of a 20cm (base measurement) square cake pan with baking paper, extending paper 5cm above rim.
2.Combine poppy seeds and milk in a small bowl; stand for 20 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, combine 1 cup of the sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes, or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 2 minutes. Add orange slices. Simmer, covered, 10-12 minutes, or until peel is soft. Using tongs. transfer orange slices to a plate. Cool.
4.Add half of the orange juice to syrup. Bring to the boil. Boil, uncovered, 10-12 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Strain syrup into a heatproof jug. Set aside.
5.Arrange orange slices, overlapping slightly, in base of prepared pan.
6.In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, zest and remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until just combined. Stir in flour, then the poppy seed mixture and remaining juice.
7.Spoon mixture over oranges in pan; smooth surface. Bake 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted at centre comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Invert onto a wire rack set over a baking tray. Brush warm cake with half of the syrup. Serve cake with ice-cream. Drizzle with remaining syrup.
Cut cake into serving-sized portions then freeze. Place frozen cake in lunchbox then, by morning or afternoon tea time, it will be ready to eat. You need 4 small oranges for this recipe. Alternatively, you can make cake in a 22cm (base measurement) round cake pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes.