Look in any baker's pantry and you will find the basics - flour, sugar, leavening agents, salt, milk, eggs, and butter ... anything else is incidental and serves to jazz up the basic baked goods that are main elements for family eating - breads, biscuits, muffins, cakes. These are the baked goods that most of us started out making when we stood on a chair next to our mothers or grannies and watched and learned and licked the spoons.
We learned that a basic cake recipe could be made special by adding just a few flavours ... cinnamon and spices one time to make a spice cake, apples and raisins the next time to make a fruit laden coffee cake, citrus juice and fruit zest to make a light tangy teacake ... but always there was a basic recipe to start from.
In Donna Hay's cookbook called the new cook, pound cake is the very first recipe that she shares in the section called 'butter and baking'. This is such a basic that she sets the recipe on the page that follows her brief discussions of flours and sugars, definitions and discussion on creaming, beating, whisking, sifting, and folding. In a simple pound cake, a novice baker can practice skills that will take them further afield in more complicated recipes ...
Hence, I poked about on my baking pantry shelf and pulled ingredients to make a basic pound cake recipe. Adding orange zest and juice to the basics made an orange pound cake with citrus drizzle and candied orange peel.
This is a firm and moist cake - dense of crumb and full of orange citrus flavour. In making the batter, I switched out the milk and added fresh, pulpy orange juice to loosen the batter up. There is a lot of butter in a pound cake batter, so don't be alarmed. I used an 8-inch cake pan that is 3 inches deep so that I got a high, round cake. It looks positively statuesque with the semi-hard orange icing drizzled over the top and down the sides. The crown is simple strips of orange zest that have been soaked in water for about fifteen minutes and then patted semi-dry and packed into a pile of sugar, rolled about a bit and left to dry up with crystals coating the individual strips. Very pretty, indeed. The icing and candied zest give the cake a bit of sweet crunchy bite.
This is an extremely easy cake to make ... a good choice for Donna Hay to push as her introduction for the new cook.
Orange Pound Cake
Orange Drizzle and Candied
a slightly adapted recipe from Donna Hay's the new cook
12 oz. unsalted butter (three sticks, softened)
1 ½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. milk
5 tbsp. fresh pulpy orange juice
Zest of one large orange
1 tbsp. butter, melted
Juice of one large orange
Confectioner’s sugar – enough to make a thick drizzle – about 1 ½ c.
Long strips of zest that do not have any white pith attached (about a dozen)
Sugar enough to bury the strips in a small bowl
Making the Pound Cake:
- Grease an 8 inch cake pan that is at least 3 inches deep OR grease a 9 inch square baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and lightly grease that as well. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 315 ° F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a deep mixing bowl until the mixture is light, fluffy, and pale yellow.
- Add the vanilla and orange zest and beat in. Then, add one egg at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
- Add the about half the flour to the egg and sugar mix and beat until smooth, then add the milk and some of the orange juice and beat. Then the rest of the flour and beat, then the last of the orange juice and beat to make a very thick smooth batter.
- Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Check the center of the cake with a cake tester at the one hour mark – the cake is finished when a cake tester comes clean and the top of the cake is golden brown.
- Cool for ten minutes in the pan and then turn the cake out onto a rack and peel away the parchment paper. Turn the cake onto a pretty cake plate and cool completely before drizzling with the icing and topping with the candied orange peel.
- Melt the butter in a small mixing bowl.
- Add the orange juice and stir together.
- Begin adding confectioner’s sugar, stirring to make a smooth icing with no lumps.
- When you have stirred the icing to the right consistency, use a spoon to scoop up icing and drizzle it over the top and down the sides of the cool pound cake.
- Let the icing set up and then decorate the cake top with the candied peel.
Making the Candied
- Wash an orange thoroughly and dry well.
- Using a zesting tool, make long strips of orange peel that have no white pith attached.
- Soak the strips in a glass of cool water for several minutes, then let them drain and place them on a paper towel to dry for a bit.
- Pat them almost dry and place them in a small bowl of sugar, tossing them about with a fork to coat them on all sides with the sugar.
- Using a fork, fish them out of the sugar and let them set up on a dry plate. If they soak up the sugar, toss them again in the sugar to get a crystalline coating on them. Let them dry well before placing them on the cake top.
shared with others at IHCC - Pantry Magic