At the end of June it was my Mother-in-Law’s birthday. I wanted to bake her something special so I decided to be sneaky and put a little poll out on my Facebook page asking for everyone’s favorite cake flavor. She responded to the post and said that her favorite flavor was orange so I went out looking for the perfect orange cake recipe. The one I came up with was a tried and true recipe from one of my favorite cooks, Ina Garten.
Her orange pound cake uses buttermilk (known for making baked treats tender and moist) so I had to try it. The recipe makes two loaves of pound cake so I decided to do something different with the second half of the batter and pulled out my dark chocolate stash. Let the fun begin!
First of all, let me just say that the batter for this cake was gorgeous. (Can cake batter be gorgeous? Yes, I think it can.) It was so fluffy and light and smooth. It was perfectly pale yellow in color with flecks of orange zest. Oh help me. I’m drooling just recalling it. And it smelled so fresh and full of citrus. I knew it was going to make the most delicious cake of all time. After filling the first pan with the batter I gently folded 3/4 cup of dark chocolate mini-morsels into the remaining batter and filled the second pan with chocolate studded gorgeousness.
When you pull them out of the oven they have to sit in the pan for about 10 minutes and then, once you put them on the cooling rack, you spoon orange simple syrup over the cakes. This imparts even more orange flavor and makes the cake melt in your mouth. I can see using this simple syrup in a lot of other recipes, too. (Citrus sangria, anyone?!)
For the chocolate orange pound cake I melted down 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of dark chocolate with a little butter (for glossiness) and piped it through a bag over the top of the cake and then added the orange glaze. Yeah. It was the bomb. Chocolate and orange go together like peanut butter and jelly. Like nuts and honey. Like maple and bacon. Like, well…you get the idea.
Follow the recipe below for the most delicious orange pound cake and feel free to add in some chocolate (as outlined above) if you want a super decadent treat. I know that you’ll love them both as much as I did.
Until next time…
The Blushing Baker 😉
PS: My Mother-in-Law loved the cake!
Orange Pound Cake
(Recipe used and adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/orange-pound-cake-recipe.html)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated orange zest (6 oranges)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To glaze one loaf (optional):
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. 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 mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the 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 the cakes 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.