Category Archives: Fruit

Whole Orange Cake

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Something odd happened today.

I baked a cake.  Crazy, right?

Okay, I may need to explain.  This is weird because:

  • There was absolutely no reason for me to bake a cake today.  No birthdays, nobody coming to visit – just me at home doing laundry.
  • I don’t love cake.  In fact, given a choice between cake and, oh, just about any other dessert, cake is generally the loser.  (Especially cake with no chocolate.)
  • I am not a fan of citrus in desserts.  Lemon bar?  No thank you!  (In fact, I’m not a fan of citrus in a lot of dishes.  I blame my mother’s very, very lemon chicken…but that’s a story for another day.)

But this cake…this cake seduced me.  It invaded my thoughts.  I craved this cake.  And I have no idea why!

Let me tell you a story.

Yesterday afternoon, I got an email from my friend Jessica titled Whole Orange Cake.  In this email was a link.  I clicked on the link, and was taken to a description of a cake unlike any cake I knew. A cake make with whole oranges.  Yes, my friends!  Whole oranges, peels and all!

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“I wonder what this tastes like,” I thought innocently.  “It sounds pretty good.”  Then I moved on…or so I thought.  But I continued to think about this mysterious whole orange cake.  When I least expected it, the orange cake would pop into my head.  Watching the new Alex Cross movie – whole orange cake!  Ironing pants for work – if only I had orange cake for breakfast!  Lunchtime at work – I bet that orange cake would taste pretty good right now…

Finally, I decided that there was no help for it.  I just had to make the Whole Orange Cake.

So I did.

And it was delicious.  And pretty.  And orangy and cakey and everything that I hoped it would be.  (And yes, I served it to myself on an orange plate.)

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Thanks, Jess!

Has a recipe ever consumed your thoughts until you just had to make it?  Or am I just crazy?  What’s your opinion of citrus in desserts? 

Whole Orange Cake  (The original recipe that Jess sent me can be found here.  I made a couple of minor changes in italics.)

  • Cooking-oil spray
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 oranges (about 1 lb. total), ends trimmed, then cut into chunks and seeded (I needed three oranges, but they were pretty small.)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • (I added 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Coat a 10-cup Bundt pan with cooking-oil spray. In a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.
Orange chunks after being chopped in the food processer.  The oranges smelled awesome!

Orange chunks after being chopped in the food processer. The oranges smelled awesome!

2. Whirl orange chunks in a food processor until mostly smooth but not puréed. Add 1 1/2 cups orange mixture to batter and beat until blended. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and nutmeg to bowl and beat until smooth. Spread batter in prepared pan.
The batter is really thick.  Getting it into the bundt pan evenly was the hardest part.

The batter is really thick. Getting it into the bundt pan evenly was the hardest part.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it, about 55 minutes. (My cake was done after 45 minutes.)  Cool pan on a rack 10 minutes, then invert cake onto rack and let cool completely.
4. Whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake. Let glaze set, then slice cake. (I did this before the cake was completely cool – I couldn’t wait any longer!) 
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Baked Apples and the Holiday Spirit

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Christmas is less than two weeks away, and normally, I would already have my tree set up and decorated, my jingle bell wreath on the door, and assorted other holiday decorations thoughout the house.

This year, I just can’t get in the holiday mood.  Oh, I’m doing my Christmas shopping and everything, but it just doesn’t FEEL like Christmas!  Maybe it’s because we haven’t had any snow.  Or maybe it’s because I haven’t watched the Rudolph and Charlie Brown Christmas specials on TV.  But whatever the cause, I decided today to fix my holiday funk.

And how do I readjust my holiday attitude?  With food of course!  In this case, with baked apples.  For whatever reason, baked apples and vanilla ice cream feel like Christmas.  And even better – it’s easy and yummy!

I remember learning how to make baked apples in middle school Home Ec class, and I’m pretty sure I made them constantly for a whole fall and winter after that.  (Thanks for letting me use the oven, Mom!)  So tonight, I made them the same way.

I took two honeycrisp apples and dug out the cores – but not all the way!  Just create a kind of a well in the middle of the apple.  Fill the wells with brown sugar, a little butter and cinnamon.  I put them in a tiny adorable cassorole dish, and baked them at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

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When I opened the oven, the warm cinnamon scent of the apples just filled the kitchen.  There are some foods that just smell like happiness – baked apples are certainly one of those foods.  (In case you’re interested, sushi is another.  Ummmm…sushi….)

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Then you break the apple apart, and the brown sugar that doesn’t soak into the apple makes it’s own syrup for the ice cream…awesome!

Welcome back, jingle bell wreath!

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Happy Holidays!

Those are some big melons…..

Melons!  Big melons!  Beautiful melons!  Everywhere I look, melons!

Ok, people.  Minds out of the gutter, please.

My farmer had melons today.  Delicious melons.  Red watermelon, yellow watermelon, cantaloupe….  My favorites.

I decided to try the yellow first.  A small melon, easy to wash.  As I tipped the knife into the green, striped flesh, the melon made a satisfying cracking sound as it popped open like a friendly trap.  The melon’s voice was the combination of a snap, ripping paper, and the sound it makes when you bite into an apple.  An auditory and visual treat that tasted even better!

The rest of the box looks delicious, as well.  We’ve been getting similar items each week, but this week included green beans for the first time.  Also corn, tomatillos, cucumber, squash, apples, and peaches.  Looking forward to making some salsa verde with the tomatillos and perhaps a corn and black bean salsa!