Orange and milk-chocolate celebration cakes (and a 1st birthday) | The Proof of the Pudding

Today is my little blog’s first birthday and I want to take the opportunity to say a huge, heartfelt thank-you thank-you thank-you to each and every one of you. Whether you’ve been with me from the start of my blogging journey or you’ve just stumbled upon this site today, I massively appreciate you taking the time to visit. Blogging has been a lot more work than I first expected, as each post takes a surprisingly long time to create, from finding old recipes or developing a new one to photographing every step of the cooking to editing the photos and writing up the recipe. But I love it, and it’s even more rewarding when I get messages out of the blue from old friends who have tried a recipe and enjoyed it, or even from people I have never met who have travelled to my site across the ether of the internet. Since starting this blog I’ve had nearly 14,000 hits, with by far the most popular recipes being my slow-cooked BBQ pulled pork tagine, rosemary and garlic slow-cooked lamb shanks and slow-cooked pork belly with crackling (anyone spot a theme there…?). My mum’s magical banana bread recipe is also a favourite, and definitely the recipe that friends have told me they have baked the most (so feel free to take all the credit here mum!). However there are a grand total of 58 separate recipe posts on the blog so far to choose from so dive on in to discover more.

On to today’s business, it seemed only fitting to celebrate a birthday with a cake. Orange season is in full swing and in fact one of my very first recipes a year ago was my Bells of St Clement’s Cake. This time we’re being a bit more dainty and a lot more cutesy with our cake-making – it is Valentine’s Day tomorrow after all. When baking this recipe I would advise you to use the best quality marmalade that you can find. I used this jar:
of my parents’ new batch of homemade marmalade. It has a punchy bitter orange flavour which is balanced well with the sweet milk chocolate. Of course you don’t need to use heart-shaped cutters, but sometimes kitsch baking is the order of the day, especially when there’s an excuse to be celebrating…

Ingredients (makes 5 individual cakes) 200g plain flour 3 tsp baking powder 200g very soft butter 200g caster sugar 4 medium eggs

Zest of 1 orange