Friday, January 14, 2011
Orange Cake with Chocolate Cardamom Glaze
I’m just about at the point where I’m really longing for the arrival of fresh and local spring fruit. I’m anxious to add the bright pop of gorgeous berries and stone fruit to replace the every-shade-of-brown palette of fall. Although I do love fall ingredients, I absolutely miss the lightness and color of spring pastries on these pages. But it’s going to be a while before we can experience that first sweet sighting, so I will need to refocus on the ingredients at hand. Tough job, I know!
Today I turn to the ever reliable sunshine flavor and brightness of orange for our little mid-winter pick-me-up. The welcome tang of citrus always appeals to me no matter what the season.
This is a simple and basic orange cake that benefits from some dressing up with a Chocolate Cardamom Glaze. The cake is moist, not too sweet and has a nice open crumb. The glaze adds a luscious and fancy flair. It's not a fussy or complex flavor profile but a simple, fun and tasty way to head towards February, where I hope we’ll begin to see some wonderful blood oranges make their glorious appearance. In the meantime, grab a bite of citrus and chocolate, a hot cup of coffee or tea and stay warm.
- If you don’t have buttermilk for the cake, you can substitute sour cream or plain yogurt.
- This cake would also be superb with a simple orange glaze. Combine 1/2 cup orange juice with 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar in a saucepan and simmer to dissolve. Pour over the cake and let it set up. In fact, the cake is very versatile. You could serve it with a light dusting of confectioner's sugar or plain with fresh strawberries in their juices or a blackberry coulis when the time comes.
- You can use bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for the glaze, depending on your own desired level of flavor and sweetness. Or you can do what I did in this instance since the cake isn’t terribly sweet, try half bittersweet and half semisweet.
- The use of corn syrup adds to the viscosity and shine of the glaze. I rarely use corn syrup but in this preparation it is a fairly small amount. You can certainly leave it out if you wish.
Orange Cake with Chocolate Cardamom Glaze
Serves 8 to 10
4 oz butter @ room temperature
3/4 C + 1 T sugar
zest of 2 large oranges
2 eggs @ room temperature
1 1/2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 C buttermilk @ room temperature
1/4 C orange juice
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t vanilla
Chocolate Cardamom Glaze
5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used 2 1/2 oz of each)
3/4 C heavy cream
1 T corn syrup
5 cardamom pods
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8” x 2 1/2” cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Combine the buttermilk, orange and lemon juices, and vanilla.
Cream the butter and sugar until lightened and creamy, about 2 - 3 minutes. Mix in the orange zest. Scrape down the bowl and add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next ingredient.
Scrape down the bowl and add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with half of the buttermilk mixture and starting and ending with the flour, until it just begins to look like it’s nearly mixed. Remove from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish the mixing with a few folding gestures.
Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and level it out evenly.
Bake the cake until it is golden and a tester comes out clean, about 28 minutes.
Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack. Carefully peel off the parchment paper, invert the cake onto an 8” cardboard round or removable tart pan bottom and cool completely.
For the chocolate glaze, chop the chocolate into very small pieces and place in a medium bowl.
Bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Crush the cardamom pods and add to the cream. Take off the heat, cover and let steep for about 1/2 hour.
To glaze the cake, place the cooled cake along with the cooling rack on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Strain out the cardamom and reheat the cream until just about to the boiling point. Keep your eye on it because it will spill over if left to boil. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Then stir slowly and gently, starting in the middle until thoroughly combined and then working outward in concentric circles until the mixture comes together.
Glaze the cake, pouring quickly in the center and around the edges. Let it run for a few seconds and then gently tap the baking sheet on the work surface to encourage the glaze to run down the sides of the cake. Just as it begins to dry, run a small flat spatula around the underside of the cardboard round to smooth the bottom edge and prevent “feet” from forming. Let glaze firm up a bit before serving.