Spiced orange & rum cake with mirror glaze

This cake is a cross between a blonde Sachertorte(!) and a Victoria Sandwich: you get the richness of the Sachertorte with the almonds and ganache, and the lightness of the Victoria Sandwich with the key flavours of ginger, orange and rum.

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This cake makes a great treat with a cup of tea or coffee, served as a dessert with some whipped cream or just sliced to share with friends.

Apart from the perhaps the glaze aspect to it, the cake and the ganache covering are very easy to make.

I have been making this cake, without the mirror glaze, for several decades, varying the ingredients somewhat as the mood takes me:

  • using ground pistachios in the cake in place of ground almonds
  • varying the spices: ground cinnamon works well, as does the freshly crushed seeds from half a dozen cardamom pods
  • using soft brown sugar or a mixture of caster and muscovado for a darker cake
  • varying or omitting the alcohol

The glaze!

Ok, the glaze effect is not your everyday cake covering and is really not essential here, but it gives a wonderful shine and you can create fun random patterns with it.

I used a mirror glaze here because I had made a batch of glaze for a dessert I had made and had plenty left over! It was also a great opportunity to practise and have a play with mirror glazes.

The recipe link for the mirror glaze, including how to use it, is in the recipe below.

Recipe: orange and rum cake – makes one 7″ cake


  • 3 eggs, weighed in their shells
  • unsalted butter or margarine: same weight as the eggs
  • caster sugar: same weight as the eggs
  • 50g ground almonds
  • self-raising flour: add to the almonds to give the same weight as the eggs ie) if the eggs weigh 150g, use the 50g almonds and then 100g flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • finely grated zest of 2 large oranges

Rum and orange ganache:

  • 160ml double cream
  • 120g dark chocolate, chopped fairly small
  • juice of 1 large orange
  • 3-4 tablespoons rum
  • few tablespoons of orange curd or seived marmalade for brushing over the cake before pouring over the ganache

Mirror glaze: (optional)

  • the recipe for the glaze is here

To finish – any of the following:

  • caramelised orange segments
  • dark choc curls
  • toasted nuts around base

Make the cake:

(1) Preheat the oven to 160C(fan) and base-line a deep 7″ circular cake with with greaseproof paper.

(2) Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger into a mixing bowl. Add the butter, sugar, ground almonds orange zest and eggs. Mix well just until you have a smooth mixture, but do not over-beat otherwise the cake will be heavy.

(3) Spoon into the cake tin and level the surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes until well risen and the sponge is just starting to come away from the tin. Leave in the tin for about 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully. Transfer to a small flat plate or bottom of a cake tin that is the same size or even a little smaller than the cake’s base.

(4) Spread the orange curd or marmalade thinly all over the cooled cake and place it, along with the plate/tin base in the fridge while you make the ganache.

Make the ganache:

(5) Put the chocolate in a small bowl and the cream in a small pan. Heat the cream until it just comes to a simmer and turn off the heat. Leave for a few minutes.

(6) Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave alone for a couple of minutes. Then stir gently until the chocolate has melted. Add the rum and the orange, mixing well to incorprate. Add more rum or orange if you feel the ganache needs either. Leave the ganache until fully cool but not set too much: it needs to be fairly runny.

Top tip: if the ganache splits, or looks like it is about to, beat in a splash of cold water and it will come back together.

(7) Lay a sheet of greaseproof, foil or clingfilm on a large baking tray and place a mug or small jar near the centre. Place the cold cake (still on its base) on top. Pour over the ganache, letting it cascade down the sides where the tray will catch the drips. You can give it a second coat if you feel it needs it.

(8) You can now decorate the cake however you want. Or leave the cake plain. Either way, let the ganache covering set in the fridge. If going for a mirror glaze, get the cake very cold (freeze for an hour if needed) and use a fresh tray underneath to catch the drips and pour it over the cake

(9) To transfer the decorated/ganached/glazed cake to a cake board, a long palette knife and a firm fish slice are invaluable here: go under with the palette knife to loosen the cake from its plate/tin bottom, and use the fish slice to carefully lift the cake onto its board for its final resting place!

Tips for decorative touches with the mirror glaze are in the mirror glaze post at the link here.


Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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