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.

Bench notes:

- 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

Orange Cake

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.


sally said...

Love the way the chocolate glaze just melts down the side of the cake!

Victoria said...

There is a delicious little orange cake that I make, and I am definitely all het up to try this one. I love any kind of candied citrus - especially paired with chocolate - so this sounds particularly delicious to me.

Basmati rice pilaf scented with cardomom is a favorite dish of mine. This makes me wonder if a little grated orange rind would be lovely mixed in!

With regard to the beautiful stone fruits you have easy access to, I am enjoying not being consumed with envy for at least a little while!

Since it's 12 degrees here, and snow is all around, I am about to have an afer-lunch cup of tea. Please hand over a piece of that cake.

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

Funny, I tend to dive into the citrus and spices this time of year too. I swear it helps. Your cake looks lovely; I'm fairly certain a slice would help chase away the winter blues!

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

A silken Goddess! Gorgeous shot of the chocolate cake...


pastry studio said...

sally, that was actually a mistake! I thought the glaze was fairly set up and I was quickly losing light for the photography so I sliced it and was a bit surprised to see it run so fast. But I decided to go with the photograph anyway since I didn't want to wait another day.

Victoria, basmati rice with cardamom sounds really intriguing. I bet some lemon or orange zest would go well. 12 degrees, yikes! Today the weather here is phenomenal - bright and sunny and clear and no wind. Not sure how long that will last but it's wonderful. I know I'm really spoiled with so much great produce here. I can't imagine not having access to all of it.

Plum, I heartily agree!

Baking Zen, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Chocolate and orange is a solid combination, but it's your addition of cardamom solidified this for me. Quite the looker... and I'm sure equally as great tasting!



Hillary said...

Exquisite! I made this for a dinner party last night, not a crumb remained. Very easy to make and the outcome is absolutely delicious (like everything I've tried making from this site)! Moist, light with a delicate citrus flavor. I made the chocolate glaze which was a perfect companion but I'm looking forward to making the citrus glaze for next week's dinner party... Thank you!

pastry studio said...

Hey Hillary! I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed this as much as I did. It really means a lot to me to have this feedback, so thanks very much for stopping by and letting me know. You all continue to inspire me.

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a treat. This looks and sounds scrumptious. I'm new to your blog and have been browsing through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

pastry studio said...

Thank you, Mary, and welcome!

Kathleen said...

This looks beautiful and sounds so good.


Anonymous said...

I continue to enjoy visiting your blog. This cake is cooling in the kitchen. I used up the last of my oranges yesterday in a fruit salad before deciding to make the cake. I had two tangerines, so I used tangerine juice and tangerine rind. (I am hopeful that it will taste as good as orange.) I also had a meyer lemon and because I felt I was a little short on the rind, I grated the lemon rind. The batter taste was tested and it was delicious. It was the cardamon glaze that sold me as well. Love the benchnotes also. Thanks, Eileen NYC

Unknown said...

That looks completely amazing, and the flavours are right up my alley. I am going to bookmark this for myself :D
*kisses* HH

pastry studio said...

Eileen, thanks so much for stopping by to comment. I think your citrus substitutions should work out fine. I hope you enjoy!

Kate said...

As always, love everything about this post.
Especially you reflecting in that shiny cake glaze ;)

And I agree with Victoria..... a piece would go well with me about now!

pastry studio said...

Kate, busted! I'm obviously having a hard time photographing shiny objects! I almost ditched the photo but I think it's sort of beautiful in its own funny way.

Kaatelynne said...

Mmmm......Love this cake! I baked it tonight (my birthday) and everyone loves it! I will definitely make this again!

pastry studio said...

Kaatelyne, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you! I'm so very glad you and your guests enjoyed this cake. Easy and fun!

Paris Pâtisseries said...

Chocolate and cardamom combined on orange cake . . . inspired! I love when cardamom makes a guest appearance in anything ;) Lovely cake.

justin said...

The idea of made chocolate just sound so delicious, I'll try the chocolate trick next time.

restaurants said...

Orange Cake with Chocolate Cardamom Glaze is very delicious..I really like this blog.

Hillary said...

I finally was able to make this again but this time with the orange glaze. Again, not a crumb remained. (I got sidetracked by your perfect Blackberry Cobbler, I've now served it twice...) I really loved the cardamom in the chocolate glaze and didn't want to lose that so I simmered some pods along with the orange juice and let it all sit for a while. It was subtle and delicious. Thanks again!

pastry studio said...

Ooooo, Hillary, that sounds fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing your idea, a great alternative for lighter fare.