Orange custard cake

This soft-textured cake combines custard powder, a pantry staple in the 80s, with fresh zesty orange.

More than 1 hour

Serves 10


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  • 1 cup (230g) self-raising flour 
  • cup (40g) cornflour 
  • 1 tsp (5ml) baking powder 
  • ½ tsp (3ml) fine salt  
  • 5 eggs, separated  
  • 1½ cups (330g) castor sugar 
  • Grated peel of 1 orange 
  • ½ tsp (3ml) orange essence (optional) 
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla essence  
  • 1 cup (250ml) cold milk 
  • Orange slices and gooseberries (optional), for decorating 


Custard filling: 

  • 2 cups (500ml) milk
  • ⅓ cup (40g) custard powder
  • ½ tsp (3ml) fine salt
  • ½ cup (125g) butter
  • 1 cup (220g) castor sugar
  • ½ tsp (3ml) orange essence (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line three 18cm cake tins with baking paper (or two larger 23cm cake tins, if you prefer).
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Whisk egg yolks, ¾ cup castor sugar and flavourings in a separate bowl with an electric mixer for about 8 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add cold milk while whisking.
  6. Stir wet mixture into dry ingredients.
  7. Whisk egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form, then add remaining castor sugar in two batches and whisk for 8-10 minutes until glossy.
  8. Fold egg-white mixture into batter.
  9. Spoon batter into lined cake tins.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  11. Cool on a wire rack.
  12. Heat 400ml of the milk in a pot until steaming hot.
  13. Combine custard powder, remaining milk and salt in a bowl, and whisk until smooth.
  14. Whisk custard mixture into hot milk and bring to a boil while whisking, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  15. Whisk butter, castor sugar and orange essence with an electric whisk in a separate bowl until pale and fluffy.
  16. Add hot custard mixture gradually while mixing until smooth.
  17. Slice tops off cakes (to create an even surface) and spread filling equally between cakes.
  18. Stack cakes and decorate with orange slices and berries before serving.


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