Recipe: Bittersweet orange cake

Whole oranges and raisins ready to process.
Whole oranges and raisins ready to process.
The orange-raisin-walnut mixture should look roughly like this.
The orange-raisin-walnut mixture should look roughly like this.

I made this for our week-late birthday dinner, and it was a hit…though I must say, I’m a bigger fan of some of the previous birthday cakes. What I really need to do in that department is figure out a wheat-free version of Grandma B.’s chocolate Kahlua cake…but that will probably have to wait for the next birthday.

Action shot of beating in the eggs. I missed having these handy electric kitchen appliances...
Action shot of beating in the eggs. I missed having these handy electric kitchen appliances…
The final batter should look basically like this.
The final batter should look basically like this.

This is a nice, if somewhat labor-intensive, cake, for those times when chocolate is just too cliché. It’s extremely moist and keeps very well in the fridge. I suggest using navel oranges, since they don’t have seeds for you to worry about.

Ready for the oven.
Ready for the oven.
We got out the fancy cake stand to present the birthday version (and keep it covered to prevent it from drying out).
We got out the fancy cake stand to present the birthday version (and keep it covered to prevent it from drying out).
The orange zest is really the icing on the cake...only metaphorically, of course.
The orange zest is really the icing on the cake…only metaphorically, of course.

Bittersweet Orange Cake

Yield: 1 6-cup Bundt cake plus 1 smaller (~ 4 c volume) cake

Adapted from: Sarah Woodson, who adapted from Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg

3 c flour (I used white spelt)
1.5 t baking soda
1.5 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1.5-2 whole oranges with rind, cut into chunks, seeds removed
1.5 c raisins
3/4 c walnut pieces
12 T (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1.5 c granulated sugar
1 T grated lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1.5 c plain yogurt
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
1/4 c orange juice (I used 1 orange)
5 T confectioner’s sugar
Additional lemon/orange zest for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C. Generously grease a 10-inch Bundt pan and smaller pan.

Sift flour, soda, powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Put oranges and raisins into food processor and process with short pulses until ingredients are finely chopped (not pureed), about 30 times. Add nuts and pulse 6-10 times more, until incorporated.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed after each addition until well-blended, scraping down the bowl with a spatula each time. Fold in orange mixture by hand. The batter will appear curdled.

Fold in the dry ingredients and yogurt by hand, alternating additions several times to avoid pockets of dry flour. Do not completely blend after each addition, but mix on low speed at the end until just blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan(s), filling no more than 2/3 of the way up the pan. Bake on center rack until top is deep golden/golden-brown and tester comes out dry, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely (e.g. overnight or all day) on wire rack.

Prepare the glaze: whisk together lemon juice, orange juice, and confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. When the cake has cooled, remove from pan if you have not done so already. Poke holes over the entire surface with a knife and/or fine-tined fork. Use a pastry brush to baste the glaze repeatedly over the surface of the cake until all the glaze has been absorbed and a puddle forms around the bottom. (Be generous, but I only used about half the glaze).

Serving suggestion: room temperature, with crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

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