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Friday, April 19, 2013

Orange Bundt Cake

I'll never be able to think of Bundt cakes anymore without being reminded of that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
"Bundt!  BUNDT!!!!"
 "Ohhh!  It's a cake!"
 "There's a hole in this cake."

heh heh heh heh.  Funny stuff from a funny movie.


Is it really that WASPish of a thing?  I guess I wouldn't know, with my upbringing.  My family did make lots of bundt cakes; I'd say most cakes were bundt cakes, actually, now that I think of it...  And if my parents happen to bear striking resemblances to Ian MIller's parents, well, I'm sure that's just a coincidence.


But, anyway, I don't really make a lot of cakes myself, but the wife had a really rough week of work this week, and she happens to really love cakes.  Like competing for a spouse's affection kind of love.  But, anyway... 

So, I made a bundt cake.

But not just any kind.


An ORANGE bundt cake.



You see, I had a big bag of organic oranges in the fridge, and I didn't feel like just making the traditional yellow bundt cake.  

I was lucky enough to find a variant actually listed in one of my favourite resources, the ATK Family Baking Book.  Although, making an orange zest variant of anything is pretty straightforward.

Here is the recipe... which, to be fair, I followed only loosely.  Some of my many deviations include more orange juice and zest, and about 3 times as much vanilla, and a bit more flour.

I apologize... my scanner broke this week...  :(

So, to start, we're going to zest and juice a couple of fresh oranges.  

I need to juice a lemon too, because I'm going to use the 'sour milk' substitution for my lack of authentic buttermilk. (In case you've never heard of this, you can let a tablespoon or so of lemon juice sit in about a cup of milk for about 15 minutes, to 'sour' it, which can be a cheap and easy baking substitution for buttermilk.)

 Two medium oranges later, and I was left with enough orange juice and zest for three things: 1) To add to my cake mix; 2) To add to my orange frosting; and, 3) To drink the leftovers in a ridiculously small gulp.

Freshly squeezed OJ is a luxury I never get, so when I didn't quite need all of the juice from two oranges, it was no problem at all for me to 'deal' with the leftovers.  Even in such pitiable quantity.


So, the juice and zest got split into what was to be added to the cake mix, and what was to be saved for the frosting.

  The former I added to my souring milk, 

while the latter I let sit aside in a small mixing bowl along with some butter for the 'butter cream frosting'.

By this time, my butter has reached room temperature, and is ready to be creamed.  It can not be overstated, the importance of creaming the butter.



About 5 minutes of mixing on lowish speed, and the butter is ready to accept some other ingredients.  Must notably the sugar.

So, after mixing the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs, one at a time.

After having mixed together all wet in one mixing bowl, and all dry in a separate bowl, add each to the butter mixture gradually, alternating one and then the other as you go, mixing on low all the while.


That's it.  Time consuming but easy.

If you'll notice that recipe I included had a 'tip' (ATK often has these) on how to prepare the bundt pan.  So I tried that.  Normally I did used to lightly oil, and then lightly flour the pan and never really had any complaints, but I decided to give this 'combined' method a try.

It worked out OK.  Can't say I really noticed much of a difference, really.  I guess the look of the cake, upon baking, was a little more uniform, but what difference does it make when I'm about to frost the crap out of the thing anyway?  I suppose if you were to have an unadorned bundt cake, this would be helpful...

Anyway, that got baked.

And came out looking gorgeous!

YUM!  So moist!  Look at that glistening sheen!

At this point you could postively smell the orange.

Anyway, I let it sit just on the stove for a few minutes at first, but then I upended it on a wire cooling rack, where it sat for a good while still in the pan.

Periodically I would try to lift the pan off, but until it cooled substantially (I'd say it was about 20 minutes) the pan did not come off easily.

But when it did... 


My single best-looking cake ever.

I let that cool for a few hours on the counter before frosting.

Which I suppose I should talk about now.

Remember that butter, orange juice, and orange zest I had set aside?  Well, here it is again, in case you forgot:

The butter was getting nice and soft, but not melted, and when I was finished putting the cake in the oven, I got started making some orange butter cream icing.

So, to this mix I add a large amount of vanilla.  I can't remember exactly but it was several tablespoons.  With just a regular wire whisk, I beat that all together, and then added a couple cups of confectioner's (icing) sugar.  What we were left with was a delicious-tasting, relatively plain-looking, frosting.  So, I decided to try and make it look orange.  Normally some simple orange food colouring would suffice, but I hardly ever use food dye.  Like ever.  I had one bottle of colouring (yellow, as you'll see in a sec) which was probably close to ten years old.  I never use the stuff.  But, you'll remember this was meant to be a treat for the wife... <sigh>... so I wanted it to be pretty.

Enter nuclear yellow chemical.  To be fair to the nuclear yellow chemical, I'll be the first to admit ignorance to what it actually entails.  For all I know it could be a wholly organic, naturally-derived, plant or vegetable extract... 

although... something tells me it's not.  ;)

Heh heh heh.

Anyway, after a few drops of that, my butter cream frosting starts looking, unsurprisingly, yellow.

So, I remember that I have, saved in the freezer, some RASPBERRY frosting from my Raspberry Cupcakes of a few months ago.  It's elementary art class all over again children! 

Yellow plus red equals?


Well... to be fair, this was more like yellow plus pink equals some sort of pale orange colour...  But it was close enough!


So, after the cake had cooled a bit, I 'glazed' the whole thing with a large amount of this goop.  

It is an extravagance after all, is it not?

Mmmmmmmm... Orangey.

Anyway, this Orange Bundt Cake turned out to be incredibly well-received.

Both by my wife and by my stomach.