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Hmm! Who remembers sinking their teeth into a moist and zesty slice of Lemoenkoek when growing up? Isn’t it about time you got to enjoy this delightful South African treat again? Yip, you guessed it! We have another South African traditional treat for you; from our recipe book to yours! Today we are talking about Lemoenkoek!

Where Does Lemoenkoek (Orange Cake) Come From?

If you have wondered where Orange Cake comes from (before it was your gran’s homemade speciality) it is quite hard to figure it out. The history of Lemoenkoek (or ‘Orange Cake’ as it is called in English) in South Africa is hard to come by. We know that any good old fashioned SA Ouma has her own secret Orange Cake recipe; tucked away somewhere and ready to be passed on to the next generation, but where does it actually come from? That is a hard one to answer. While there isn’t much available online about the origins and history of Orange Cake, there is a theory that South Africans owe thanks to the Cape Malay community for this delicious SA treat. The Cape Malays, as you may know, were brought to South Africa in the 16th Century as a group of Indonesian exiles and slaves from Asia and Africa. Next time you are savouring a delicious chunk of Lemoenkoek, thank the Cape Malays as it is potentially their traditional dishes and cakes that lead SA to the making of its very own Orange Cake!

Regardless of where Lemoenkoek comes from and how it got to your plate in the first place, one thing is for certain; everyone loves a big serving of homemade Orange Cake. As a South African expat, chances are that you do not have much opportunity to get your hands on orange cake, but with the right easy-to-follow Orange Cake recipe, you can make your own! You, and everyone you treat to it, will absolutely love it.

Orange Cake Recipe | Lemoenkoek Recipe

If you are looking for the best Orange Cake recipe around, you do not have to look too far. We have got it for you right here – and we are dying to share it with you. Is making Orange Cake hard? A good homemade Orange Cake recipe is as hard or as easy as you want to make it. A good recipe doesn’t have to be complex – in fact, ours is downright simple. However, do not skimp on the steps, or your cake could end up dry, heavy, and chewy. Follow the steps below to the letter and a delectable Orange Cake will be yours! This recipe serves 12 people and it is far easier than you might think!

What You Need to Make Lemoenkoek

A soft, flavourful cake is only as good as the ingredients used. Fresh orange juice is preferred, but if you can’t squeeze your own juice, store-bought juice will work just fine. Gather all the following goodies before you get started.

What you need for the cake:

  • 250g of plain cake flour
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of baking powder
  • 125ml of fresh orange juice
  • 125ml of milk (cow’s or plant milk)
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten (you can use 9 tablespoons of Aquafaba instead, for a plant based option)
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons of grated orange zest
  • 2 x 20cm round cake tins

What you need for the icing:

  • 6 tablespoons of softened butter (or plant based marge)
  • 250g of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice

What to do

So far it has all been really simple, hasn’t it? Don’t worry, the rest is just as easy. Below are the steps to follow for making the actual cake.

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Grease the 2 round cake tins and lightly flour them so that the cake does not stick to the sides.
  • Pour the milk, orange juice, oil, orange zest, and beaten eggs (or Aquafaba) into a jug and combine. Set this mixture to one side.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking powder to eliminate any clumps and get a nice and light consistency.
  • Mix the sugar in and then make a well in the centre of the flour and sugar mix.
  • Pour the milk and orange juice mixture into the well and stir thoroughly until it is well combined. Do this gently as over mixing can lead to a tough texture.
  • Pour the cake batter into the cake tins in equal amounts.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and cooked through (you can check if the cake is ready by pushing a skewer into the cake sponge. If it comes out dry, it is ready, but if it comes out with raw batter on it, it should bake for longer).
  • Set both cake tins to one side and allow them to cool. Only ice the cakes when they are cool or your icing will just melt and seep into the cake.

How to make the icing:

  • Cream the butter until it is smooth and light.
  • Slowly and gradually beat the icing sugar into the butter.
  • Beat the mixture until it becomes light and fluffy.
  • Beat the orange juice into the mixture (this will change the mixture to a thicker consistency)
  • Stir the vanilla and orange zest into the mixture.
  • When the cakes are cool, spread this over the top of each cake.
  • Push the one cake on top of the other, and spread the leftover icing all over the outside.

And that is it – a delectable moist orange cake is yours to enjoy. You can garnish the top of the cake with orange zest if you so wish. All that is left to do is cut off a big chunk of it (or a slice if you are being polite) and enjoy it! Sink your teeth into that!

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