Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Orange Loaf

Last week I had to attend a workshop about perinatal loss. As you can imagine, spending eight hours talking about babies dying is not exactly anyone's idea of fun. Although the workshop was helpful in providing tools on how to help families experiencing perinatal loss, it was also extremely sad. Prior to attending, I decided to make some sort of baked good and bring it along so as to give a little cheer to people while discussing such a difficult topic.

The loaf that I originally baked was actually a lemon loaf studded with cranberries. However when I was baking it I seemed to run into some issues with the time and found the middle of the loaf not baked through. I cut around the questionable middle portion and had enough slices to bring to work. Everyone at the workshop, including those in charge, thanked me for my thoughtful gesture and appreciated the sweet treat.

Later that evening I brought home a few leftover slices and my mom and brother quickly ate them up. They both begged me to make it again and I obliged, but rather than use lemon I used orange instead and omitted the cranberries to see if that would solve my previous issue with the doneness of the loaf. Unfortunately, I had the same problem initially but by increasing the time I was able to bake the loaf all the way through. My mom and brother were so pleased when they found out I baked it again just for them.

Orange Loaf
Note: The orange can be substituted with lemon or even lime to make a different flavored loaf.

For the cake:
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp grated orange zest (about 1 orange)
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (about ½ an orange)
  • 16 tbsp (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, eggs, orange zest and juice and mix slowly with an electric mixer.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, blend in the melted butter. 
  4. Continue mixing and add half of the dry ingredients, then the sour cream and vanilla, and finally the remainder of the dry ingredients. Mix everything just until it is all incorporated evenly.
  5. Pour the batter out into a well-greased 9" x 5" pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit then rotate the pan and reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Continue baking for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least 15-20 minutes before taking it out and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
 For the syrup:
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (about ½ an orange)
  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and orange juice. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Once the cake is baked but still warm from the oven, use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes all over and then pour the syrup on top.
For the glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Add a little bit more juice or sugar if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. When the cake has cooled completely, pour the glaze over top. Allow it to stand for about 10 minutes so that the glaze sets before slicing and serving.

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