Monday, January 2, 2012

Cake a l'Orange

We are definitely straying away from New England, here. This came about, as most of my shortcomings do, through poor planning. My riding instructor held her lesson as usual on Saturday morning. Rather than draw up a menu for our dinner party Sunday night before I went riding, I called my husband from the Potomac Safeway and told him to pick a recipe for dessert. He likes citrus, so he picked Cake a l'Orange, from Florida. I imagine that the fact that it could be made ahead of time also figured in his thinking.
Sunday morning, I came back from church, opened a drawer, and beheld once again, an epidemic of crumbs festooning the bottom of the drawer, and a disgusting array of spots and stains dribbled on the front of said drawer. January 1 gives rise to the desire to change, at least in me. I dumped the contents of the drawer on the counter, washed out the filthy organizer, and got to work with the spray cleaner, attempting to obliterate over 20 years of spills, dribbles and God knows what all.
Once I got the silverware drawer cleaned out, I moved on to the culinary odds and ends drawer, and cleaned out a dozen canning rings and lids along with the crumbs and spills, which made finding things in that drawer a challenge. My husband joined in the game, and we threw out a smoothie maker that had lacked a gasket for approximately five years. He started going through his desk drawer and discarding anonymous keys and other peculiar things. One of the items he unearthed was a pin that I had been awarded three or four years ago as an "outstanding volunteer" by the Girl Scouts. I was delighted to see it, as I had been very proud to receive it.
After a couple of hours, every drawer in the kitchen was cleaner and better organized than it had been before we started.
Then I started to make the cake. Now, if I had read the recipe ahead of time, I could have taken the butter out when I started to clean out the drawers and it would have been at room temperature. As it was, I turned on the oven as directed, shoved the butter in and counted slowly to 20. It was not exactly soft when I began to mix it.
The cake batter turned out to be extremely stiff, even with the addition of a tablespoon of extra sour cream scraped out of the bottom of the container. I ended up adding about half a cup of orange juice to get things working. My husband felt that this was not actually necessary, as the cake was very soft when he took it out of the oven.
It turned out to be an extra moist, delicious cake that was feted by the guests. You cab add the orange juice or not as you wish.

Cake a l'Orange

1 cup butter at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs separated

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sour cream

grated rind of one orange

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavor liqueur

2 tablespoons slivered blanched almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream together the butter and one cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda and add, alternately with the sour cream, stirring until smooth. Stir in the orange rind and nuts.

4. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold them into the batter. Grease a nine-inch tube cake pan and pour in the batter. Bake fifty minutes or until cake is done when tested with a cake tester.

5. Combine the orange juice, Grand Marnier and remaining sugar and spoon the mixture over the hot cake. Decorate the top with almonds. Let the cake cool before removing it from the pan. Makes ten servings.

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