I didn’t think it could get colder, but it has. Europe is in the “grip” of a cold snap. Don’t you just love overused journalistic terms like grip? To be honest they annoy the hell out of me, it’s usually a case of lazy journalism. But for once I think they are right. Snow has fallen in places it simply doesn’t, temperatures are at all time lows, the sea is freezing over on the south coast of England, and yes people have died. It’s a chastening thought isn’t it?
I have the choice to go out or not in the cold. In case you are wondering its MINUS 20 this morning. I’m staying in again. I’m safe and sound, wrapped up, have heating and good clothing. I have good clothing to hand if I want to go out – boots that have thick rubber soles and are insulated, fleeces and hats, down filled jackets, long johns and thermals. And I realise how very fortunate I am. I can go and play in this cold weather. While others will be struggling to heat a room, or at worst find shelter outside. Life is full of extremes. And right now I’m living one.
From the comfort of our apartment in the high Alps, I can look in on the world at what it’s up to, I can cook good nourishing food, or I can opt out and read a book and snooze. I’m living in a “winter wonderland” with a playground of snow, fuelled by vin chaud and hot chocolate. We are having some of the best skiing conditions for years, it is wonderous. And I’m still trying to accept that I can’t join in fully. But there is still wonder out there for me.
I wanted to bake something for a friend’s birthday, originally I planned on making muffins but I couldn’t find a muffin tin locally so reverted to cake. But the idea of chocolate chips stayed. In fact they have been burning a proverbial hole in the cupboard. I loved the idea of an orange cake; nice, simple and tasty, plus I can get good oranges locally. I thought I could adapt the recipe so I added a couple of handfuls of chocolate chips, a major bit of guesswork on my part. And yes the combination worked.
The recipe comes from Orange Bee, Linda describes it as “a moist cake and the orange flavor permeates throughout. You’ll want to get a spoon for the orange glaze and have a taste or two. ….. It’s a delightful dessert, a tasty breakfast treat or a mouth-watering midnight snack. ”
Because I don’t have a big mixer I had to beat the butter first and then add the flour to it, bit by bit. And yes I sent flour in every direction as it splattered around the salad bowl that I’m using as a mixing bowl.
My cake split, and doesn’t look anywhere as nice as the original that Linda made, and besides she has such a lovely plate too. I cooled the cake off on a wire tray whilst I made the syrup. The syrup needs lots of stirring and you can’t leave it alone. But it is a gem. As I needed to transport the cake I put it back into the baking tin and added the orange syrup insitu. It’s a bit of a messy finger-licking job when you don’t have a brush, and only one proper working arm. Oh and I reckon I managed to overcook the syrup a bit, either that or I didn’t work quickly enough as it soon cools and thickens when you add it to the cake.
The finished cake, with the syrup is beautiful. Tempt, tempting, tempted?
The recipe calls for vanilla essence, and I was thinking about this, that the next time I make the cake and the syrup I’d like to skip the vanilla and add a few drops of rose-water to the syrup. I love the combination of rose and orange and think it would work. Only think mind you.
Another Brucie Bonus is that it isn’t overly sweet. So for those that don’t have a big sweet tooth, this is the cake for you.
Here’s the recipe and instructions, but do pop over and say hello, she cooks up a storm and has the most wonderful pictures of bees you can imagine. And if like me you need to convert the measurements into metric call into Celia at Fig and Lime Cordial where she has a very simple and useful conversion chart. Oh and a lovely garden and amazing recipes too.
Orange Pound Cake
Be sure to glaze this cake while it’s still warm so that the syrup is easily absorbed.
FOR THE CAKE:
15 tbsp. softened unsalted butter
3 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. grated orange zest
FOR THE GLAZE:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 6-cup loaf pan with 2 tbsp. of the butter; set aside. Put milk, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl and beat until well combined; set aside.
- Sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk. Add zest, beating on medium speed, then add remaining 13 tbsp. of butter, 1 tbsp. at a time, waiting until each is completely incorporated before adding more.
- Slowly add milk-egg mixture, beating constantly, until batter is just mixed together. Pour into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. (Lightly cover cake with a piece of buttered foil during baking if it begins to get too brown.) Allow cake to cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold. Using a skewer, poke holes all over top of cake.
- For the glaze: Combine sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Reduce glaze by half. Brush some of the warm glaze over top of cake, reapplying glaze until cake is saturated.