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Orange Tea-Cake

July 12, 2010
Orange Tea-Cake. The original recipe for this cake comes from Spain and was given to cookbook author Penelope Casas by a Spanish home cook named Mari Carmen Martín. I made it several times in the traditional way–following the recipe to the letter. Each time the cake was perfectly delicious, but I felt it was too light in orange flavor. As the original recipe heading reads, “A golden, moist cake perfumed with orange….” I wanted something that not only smelled of oranges, but tasted of them as well; and I did not want to accomplish this by adding extract. What I came up with entailed a few specific changes. I added more orange zest, used Valencia oranges exclusively, made a glaze using an orange marmalade that was high in fruit content, and chose the best orange liqueur around. I also decided to make two cakes instead of one because once any of my neighbors smelled the deep orange aroma coming from my kitchen, they invariably asked me to make a cake for them. One to eat; one to give away.
  • 3 large or extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice of 4 Valencia oranges (about 1 to 1-1/8 cup), freshly squeezed
  • Zest of 3 oranges, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (NOT extra virgin)
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other good orange liqueur
Grease and flour 2 6-cup Bundt pans. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until thickened and light-colored. Slowly, one at a time and in order, beat in the sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and oil. Next, 1/4 cup at a time, beat in the flour. Toss in the baking powder and beat for just a few seconds more.
Quickly pour the batter into the pans filling each 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate racks and continue to bake until done–about 15 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in the cakes comes out clean and the cakes spring back to the touch. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then gently turn out on serving plates.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the Marmalade Glaze:
Combine marmalade and Grand Marnier in a small saucepan and simmer on medium-low for 3 minutes. Brush glaze over still-warm cakes. Allow to sit for at least five minutes so the glaze soaks in.
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