food + drink · store cupboard · sweets and chocolates

Homemade Candied Orange Peel

candied orange peel-1998With the holiday season only weeks away this is the time of year when I find myself making lots of  homemade candied orange peel. It’s quite a straightforward process but takes some hours to complete. The final results are so worth the effort… and your home is filled with the warming aromas of the simmering orange peel while cooking.

Strips of candied orange peel dipped in melted dark chocolate, then chilled, are irresistibly delicious and make an impressive after dinner sweet treat, which your guests will guiltlessly devour… if you’re willing to share them! Candied orange peel can be made weeks in advance and used in sweet bread recipes like this Salted Caramel Focaccia with Rosemary and Vanilla or in cakes, cookies, desserts, ice cream and used for decoration on sweets and cupcakes. Continue reading “Homemade Candied Orange Peel”

baking · food + drink · posts

Victoria Sponge Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream

A fond memory recalled from childhood, the familiar words called out by my parents… “your tea is ready,” a signal letting us know our evening meal was on the table. High Tea or as we called it our “Tea,” was a light savoury meal that would be eaten somewhere between the hours of 6pm to 7pm.

Afternoon tea (3pm to 5pm) reserved for special occasions usually involved serving a selection of delicious home-baked cakes, light fluffy scones and crustless sandwiches, all washed down with copious amounts of freshly brewed tea.

I love how this quote sums up afternoon tea and I believe it is a special ceremony, a visual feast, a time to take out your pretty china cups, decorative plates, quaint cutlery, antique tiered cake stands and linen napkins…  and spoil all the lovely people in your life.

“Under certain circumstances there are few hours more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” ― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady.

Afternoon tea would not be complete without a selection of cakes, so you might like to try other recipes such as, Rocky Road Chocolate Cakes, Matcha Tea and Lemon Cupcakes , Mini Pavlova Bites, Chocolate Guinness and Blackcurrant Cupcakes or Welsh Cheese Cakes.

Victoria Sponge Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream


  • 110g butter, softened
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 25g self-raising flour
  • 75g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh orange juice

You will need a 12 hole cupcake tin lined with paper cases and a piping bag and nozzle.

for the buttercream

  • 110g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon of finely grated orange zest
  • 200g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of fresh orange juice
  • sugar flowers and strips of candied orange peel, to decorate (optional)

How to make:  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4/Fan 160°C.

Add the butter, caster sugar and orange zest into a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, beat ingredients together until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs (a few tablespoons at a time) to the cake mixture, beating well after each addition.

Add in the sifted flours and fold into the cake mixture with a spatula until the mixture is smooth, stir in the milk. Divide the cake mixture evenly among the prepared baking tin. Bake cupcakes for about 18 to 20 minutes or until the middle of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed with fingers. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring the cupcakes to a wire cooling rack.

For the buttercream: Add the butter and orange zest into a mixing bowl,  beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar into the butter, beating between additions until all the icing sugar has been incorporated. Beat in the orange juice. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with the desired nozzle,  pipe the buttercream on top of each cupcake. Decorate with edible sugar flowers and candied orange peel, if desired.


This post has been part of the High Tea Sweet Adventures Blog Hop hosted by Jennifer from Delicieux where you will find all the other delicious High Tea entries on her blog!

store cupboard

Dried Orange and Lemon Rinds

Getting rid of the guilt… do not throw out orange and lemon rinds!

I always felt a bit guilty throwing out the rinds of oranges and lemons after juicing. So now when I know that I will be juicing lots of oranges and lemons, I make plans to recycle the citrus rinds instead of throwing them into the rubbish (at least the bin smelt nice), it just seemed such a waste of so much scent and flavour.


choose fruit that feels firm and free of blemishes

One of my favourite ways of recycling citrus rinds is to dry them or make candied orange peel. It’s a simple process and much more rewarding than having a rubbish bin that smells nice! Always choose citrus fruit that feels firm and free from any blemishes.

I always wash the citrus fruit in hot water and gently scrub with a vegetable brush, this  helps to remove the wax coating. Organic citrus fruit don’t always have this wax coating.

Removing the rind

When removing the rind of citrus fruit I use my swivel vegetable peeler ( y-shaped ) for the task, resulting in thin parings of citrus rind with none of the bitter pith. Avoid using a knife, it’s harder to get the same results.


Before juicing the citrus fruit,  pare the rind using the swivel vegetable peeler. I have a small dehydrator (not a necessity)  which I use for drying citrus rinds, but you can use an oven.

drying orange rind in a dehydrator

Take the prepared citrus rind and lay skin side down in a single layer on a baking tray. Place the tray into the oven and turn the temperature to its lowest setting. Drying the citrus rinds can take anywhere between one and  two hours, depending on how low the temperature of your oven can go. Aim for about 50C/122F setting or lower by propping the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Once the citrus rinds feel dry and crisp to touch, they are done.


Take the prepared citrus rind and lay skin side down, in a single layer on a baking tray. Leave the citrus rinds to air dry for a day or two until dry and crisp.

Store the dried citrus rind in a clean jar or airtight container until needed. A great store cupboard item to have.

Ways of using the dried lemon and orange rind:

  • I like to add a few pieces of dried lemon or orange rind into some of my marinades and dressings, infusing them with citrus flavours.
  • When making a fruit salad I like to add some dried pieces of lemon and orange to marinate with the fruit for a few hours, removing them before serving.
  • Sometimes I like to add dried lemon to my green tea.
  • I like to infuse a jug of water with some dried lemon, giving a slight citrus taste to the plain water.
  • At Christmas when making mulled wine my dried citrus rinds come in handy.
  • When I am roasting fish, meat, poultry or vegetables I will throw in a few pieces of the  dried citrus rind into the roasting pan to add a citrus note to the food…e.g. I add lemon with white fish, orange with salmon, lemon with lamb and chicken, orange with duck and orange with carrots and pumpkin.

This list could go on but hopefully I have given you enough good reasons for ”  not throwing out your orange and lemon rinds”.

Do you dry citrus rinds? What is your favourite way of using them?