It seems that I can’t get enough of these orange cakes. I know that it was just last week that I shared with you an Orange Cake recipe, but I can’t move on from this chapter without sharing with you yet another delectable orange cake, this time accompanied by good gummy cranberries.
I made the Orange-Cranberry Cake for the first time a few Saturdays ago and planned on taking it to a dinner party. To my surprise and sheer dismay it didn’t come out as I expected. In fact, it was a total disaster! It wasn’t that the cake wasn’t good; don’t get me wrong. On the contrary, it was light, airy and fluffy, and just melted in your mouth. The cake was citrusy and utterly decadent, while those bits of dried cranberries floating in a sea of orange dough were colorful and visually stunning. It was great if you overlooked the fact that you had to eat half of the cake from the platter and the other half from the bundt cake pan. Yes, it wasn’t at all presentable. It got stuck to the pan and completely fell apart. I couldn’t believe it. I was so disappointed and felt like a lousy, mediocre baker.
It wasn’t that this recipe was dauntingly complex and hard to make. It was as simple as 1, 2, 3, but I made a basic mistake. And I even thought about it as I was generously coating my pan with nonstick vegetable spray. I was thinking that I should probably just generously butter and flour the pan. But, no, I went ahead with the cooking spray. What I should have done was to listen to that tiny voice in my head whispering to use plain old butter and flour. So, after the cake calamity, I didn’t have time to make another cake before our dinner, and we ended up taking wine. Not at all the result I had envisioned and definitely far from my true potential.
Last week, I decided that it was time to try my luck again with the orange-cranberry cake. It was just too damn scrumptious to give up on it. This time, however, no baking spray in sight just butter and flour to coat the pan. And, guess what – it worked out beautifully! It was a delight watching the cake pulling away from the pan while it was cooling ever so slightly. I just knew it would come out of the pan easily and look like a million bucks. And it did. Sometimes, second time’s the charm!
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Best Desserts (Spring 2012)
Serves: 12+ servings
· ¾ cup butter, at room temperature; plus more to coat the bundt pan
· 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more to coat the pan
· 3 eggs, at room temperature
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
· ¾ cup granulated sugar
· ¼ cup orange juice
· Finely shredded peel from 1 orange
· ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
· ½ cup dried cranberries, finely snipped
· 1/3 cup granulated sugar
· ¼ cup water
· 2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
· 2 Tablespoons agave nectar
· ½ cup orange juice
Preheat oven to 325°F. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric hand mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the ¾ cup granulated sugar, beating on medium speed about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Stir in orange juice, orange peel, and vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low to medium speed for 1 minute after each addition and scraping side of bowl frequently. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Stir in dried cranberries.
Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. Generously pick top and side of cake with a fork.
For the syrup:
In a medium saucepan combine the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, the water, brown sugar, and agave nectar. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly and most of the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in orange juice; cool slightly. Spoon or brush syrup over top and side of cake.
Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)