This recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Odile’s fresh orange cake in Baking with Chez Moi. Like all things in life, there are so many ways to get to the endpoint. Skinning a cat (metaphorically speaking) or baking a cake, the task at hand. Instead of poaching sliced orange, as Dorie has suggested, I used sliced whole blood oranges, including the peel.
I had a problem. I only had two blood oranges and several Cara Cara oranges. The blood oranges fell apart when I attempted to cut them crosswise for poaching. I love the color of the blood oranges and wanted to get as much out of them as I could. So I had to quickly devise a plan B. In the end, the cake turned into a candied blood orange cake instead of Odile’s version as I set out to do.
Sliced blood oranges were simmered in syrup (by boiling granulated sugar and water in equal amount in a saucepan) until the orange peel became soft and translucent. The orange peels taste more like candied than poached fruit. Believe it or not, the skin of the orange developed into something quite transcending. Sweet and tangy, and with a soft bite. The after taste lingered. I went for a second piece of cake.
The idea of using the whole orange was not new. I borrowed it. The original idea came from Claudia Roden‘s orange and almond cake. A whole orange is cooked for two hours, seeded and pureed. Then the orange puree goes into the cake batter. The result is one of the most moist and deeply flavored orange cakes I’ve ever eaten. You’ll never forget the experience how you put pureed whole oranges, peel and pith and all, in a cake. Radical, different with unexpected results. And it works.
Odile’s orange cake batter is similar to a classic pound cake formula: equal weight in flour, sugar, butter and egg. Sugar (with orange zest from one Cara Cara) and butter (one stick) were creamed together until smooth. Then eggs were beaten into the batter. Juice from one orange (Cara Cara) and all the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) were incorporated last.
I put the batter in a parchment lined 9-inch pan and baked it for 20 minutes in a 350°F oven. The candied blood orange slices were arranged on top of the cake. Brushed them with some orange syrup for the final finishing touch. An eye-candy of a cake too beautiful to eat! But someone has to do it.
|Candied blood orange slice has a sweet, tangy and soft bite|
Home bakers at Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) are making Odile’s fresh orange cake this week. Please go to the blogroll to see what other bakers have whipped up. You’ll always find some interesting surprises.