Friday, November 28, 2008

Orange Cardamom Cake

The most reassuring and reliable ray of sunshine to visit us during the winter months is an abundance of fresh citrus fruit. The season of citrus includes the well known navel oranges and Valencias, so terrific for juicing. But there is an entire family of splendid citrus, such as blood oranges, mandarins, clementines (seedless mandarins), tangerines (a type of mandarin), pixies (a type of tangerine), tangelos (a hybrid of tangerine, grapefruit and orange), Minneolas (tangerine and grapefruit) and kumquats. So very many wonderful varieties to explore and enjoy.

When it comes to the pastry kitchen, orange desserts can range from the sublime, like the elegant Crêpes Suzette, to the very rustic and simple, such as the decidedly delicious Oranges with Rosemary Sabayon. But no matter which citrus pastries you choose to create, they are invariably full of bright satisfying flavor.

I’ve been meaning to make this cake for quite a while and when I got my email newsletter from David Lebovitz talking about this as one of his season’s favorite desserts, I looked at the oranges on my table and decided to get to it now. The result is a supremely tender cake with a very distinct fragrance of cardamom. This is a really great way to experience those juicy oranges so plentiful now in our markets. As your cake sits cooling, your kitchen will hold the aroma until the last guest arrives.

Bench notes:
- I wish I’d had a fourth orange on hand. I would have liked a few more slices.
- Use a very sharp knife when peeling and slicing the oranges to avoid tearing the flesh. Be sure to remove all the pith when slicing off the peel.
- I think this cake would be incredible with blood oranges.
- The cake is nicely garnished with vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream scented with a splash of vanilla or orange liqueur.
- David recommends a 10” skillet for baking. I used a 10” springform pan. It was done in about 32 minutes.

Orange and Cardamom Upside Down Cake

adapted from David Lebovitz
Serves 10 - 12

The topping:
3 T butter
3/4 C firmly packed light brown sugar
3 medium-sized navel oranges, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 t ground cardamom

The cake batter:
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t ground cardamom
3 oz (6 T) butter @ room temperature
2/3 C sugar
2 eggs @ room temperature
1/2 C whole milk @ room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and stir in the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom until smooth. Remove from the heat and press the mixture evenly on the base of the pan. Allow to set.

Overlap the orange slices in concentric circles over the topping in the bottom of the cake pan.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cardamom. Combine the milk, vanilla and orange zest.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Stir in half of the dry ingredients until nearly combined, then add the milk and mix. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat just until combined, being careful not to overmix.

Gently spread the batter over the oranges and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool the cake at least 15 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter.


Anonymous said...

That looks really good! I better start stocking up on citrus recipes to get me through the winter and I'll definitely try this one...probably with blood oranges as you suggested!

Jerry said...

Yummy! Love upside down cakes!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

moist, moist, moist!

Anonymous said...

Cardamom is one of my favorite spices, especially combined with citrus. This looks fabulous. A great twist on the classic upside down cake.

Anonymous said...

I'm going through a cardamom phase right now, but I never thought to combine it with citrus. This cake looks just perfect.

Helene said...

You had me at cardamom..and to add the oranges with it...yummm!

Cakespy said...

You are speaking my language here. This is a nice, spicy holiday twist on a classic cake!

Anonymous said...

Great food blog! The recipes have beautiful photographs and easy to follow recipes. give a thumb up!!

Sowmya Dileep said...

Hi, I luv your blog...Just waiting for the honey cake recipe to be posted in your Blog.
I really admire your way of explaining the recipe and that too with detailed pics....

kelsorelse said...

I just made this cake for Christmas Eve dinner. it tasted wonderful, and worked well at high altitude! thanks for posting the recipe.

Sarah said...

Just wanted to let you know I made this cake with blood oranges for a birthday this week and everyone loved it! Thanks for the recipe. I did use slightly less sugar though, about 1/2 cup for the batter and about the same for the topping, and found the cake sweet enough that way.
And generally - love your blog, fantastic recipes, have made several so far and really liked every single one :)

pastry studio said...

Sarah, you are wonderful and thanks very much for your generous feedback. So glad you enjoyed this cake with some fabulous blood oranges. Cheers!