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Orange Cake

Serves: Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • Plain dried bread crumbs, for loaf pan
  • Finely grated zest of 2 large oranges (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup blanched almonds (whole or slivered)
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure orange extract

Glaze (optional):

  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon pure orange extract

Procedures:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8½ by 4½ by 2¾-inch loaf pan and dust with the bread crumbs, tapping the pan upside down to remove the excess.


  2. Combine the orange zest and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a small bowl and stir, pressing the mixture with the back of the spoon to draw the flavor from the zest into the sugar. Set aside. Grind the almonds with 2 tablespoons of the flour in the food processor until very fine. Set aside.


  3. Sift together the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Place the melted butter in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the remaining 1 cup sugar and beat to mix. On low speed, beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Beat in the orange extract, then remove the bowl from the mixer. Stir the zest-sugar mixture into the batter, followed by the ground almonds.


  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted deeply into the center of the cake comes out clean.


  5. Shortly before the cake is done, make the glaze. Combine the sugar, orange juice, and orange extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the sugar is just dissolved. Do not allow the mixture to boil.


  6. Transfer the cake in the pan to a wire rack and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of glaze onto the cake (still in its pan), allowing it to be slowly absorbed into the cake. Gradually add another thin layer of glaze and repeat. It should take several applications and about 5 minutes to apply all the glaze.


  7. Let the cake cool until tepid. Invert the cake onto the wire rack, then turn it upright. (If the cake sticks in the pan, cover it loosely with foil or wax paper, turn it upside down onto your right hand and tap the bottom of the pan with your left hand; the cake will slide out.)


  8. When the cake is completely cool, wrap in plastic wrap or foil and let stand for at least 4 hours before serving.

by Sur La Table & Renée Behnke

 
 
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