LAWRENCE MURPHY: A rich treat with added sunshine

Chocolate orange sponge
Chocolate orange sponge

CHOCOLATE ORANGE SPONGES Makes 10 small sponges

Although we can buy oranges throughout the year, they are probably at their best during the cold winter months, bringing some sunshine into our kitchens.

At this time of year the quality of oranges are superb, and as they are plentiful they are also low in price.

Seville oranges make the most wonderful zesty marmalade, having a lot of pips containing natural pectin to help set the jelly, while blood oranges give vibrant colour to any dish and balance between sharp and sweet to blend effortlessly with rhubarb.

Smaller Spanish oranges can be utilised in both sweet and savoury dishes – they are great with fish, duck and pork, but the combination of dark chocolate and orange has to be one of the best matches. Maybe it's because of the chocolate oranges that I was bought at Christmas as a child.

This recipe for chocolate and orange sponge is best served warm and, if you want, some chocolate sauce.

Ingredients

225g butter

225g sugar

180g self-raising flour

45g cocoa powder

3 eggs

Zest and juice of 2 oranges

Method

1. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and light.

2. Add 1tbsp of the flour and mix in with the orange zest.

3. Add one egg and mix in before adding one third of the flour and the cocoa powder.

4. Alternately add the remaining eggs and flour, and lastly beat in the orange juice

5. Spoon the mixture into 10 lined baking rings and cook in a pre-heated oven (180C, gas 4) for 20-25 minutes until cooked.

6. Allow to cool slightly before serving.