The time-honored way of showing love in an Italian family is to offer food. Whether we're celebrating, mourning, happy, sad--if we're breathing, there's a table filled with great things to eat. Life's too short, so eat what you love and love what you eat.
Monday, August 17, 2009
ORANGE POUND CAKE FROM THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA
From Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style comes this variation on her ever-popular lemon pound cake. The bonus here is that the recipe makes 2 loaves, one for now and one to freeze (if you can stop eating it long enough to wrap it).
Ina has never steered me wrong with her desserts. The amount of butter is not for the faint of heart; but, unless you're eating the whole loaf at one sitting, just keep repeating the mantra, "Moderation is key."
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup grated orange zest
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
TO GLAZE 1 LOAF (OPTIONAL)
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 1/2 inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and 2 cups of the granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the orange zest.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the orange juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixture alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
While the cakes bake, cook the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with the remaining 1/2 cup orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans and place them on a baking rack set over a tray. Spoon the orange syrup over the cakes and allow them to cool completely.To glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and orange juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Add a few more drops of juice, if necessary, to make it pour easily. Pour over the top of one cake and allow the glaze to dry. Wrap well and store in the refrigerator. *************************
The triple shot of citrus--orange, in this instance--raises this cake above the ordinary. I used 3 navel oranges for the zest and juice. The freshness factor cannot be downplayed. This cake just wouldn't be the same with dried zest and/or processed juice. Ever bite is naturally sweet but with that bit of tartness on the back of your tongue. By all means glaze the loaves. You can't get too much of a good thing. Another Ina Garten winner. The woman is a genius!!!!!!