Week 2: Winter Citrus Baking

If you will recall, last weekend I got distracted one morning by researching seasonal fruits and vegetables.  I was researching seasonal fruits because while reading through “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook”, I kept returning to a recipe for a rhubarb crisp which looks amazing…so I wanted to know when rhubarb is in season.  I learned several new things, 1) rhubarb is not a fruit (!) it is a vegetable, 2) it is not in season until April, and 3) the only fruits currently in season are citrus fruits. 

Martha didn’t have any citrus recipes that spoke to me, so I turned to my trusty friend, the internet, which has never failed me.  Of course a search for “winter citrus baking” yielded numerous sites advertising classes on citrus baking but no actual recipes…At this point  it was clear a more targeted search was going to be required, but I decided before focusing my search I should maybe see what ingredients I had in my fridge (common sense, I know!).  As it turns out I had recently bought several oranges at the store because I was so happy they were back in season (duh), but hadn’t done anything with them yet…oranges it is…

An internet search of “orange baking recipes” yielded a bunch of cake and bread options, but since I had recently made cranberry-orange bread, I decided that it was time for a cake.  The cake recipes ranged from simple to complicated, but again the availability of ingredients won out (i.e. I don’t have orange extract or marmalade readily available), so I settled on a recipe titled “beat and bake orange cake”.  Let’s be clear, I hate the title and am pretty sure there is a joke in there somewhere, but the recipe looked easy and good…it can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/beat-and-bake-orange-cake/

I read the recipe reviews before starting and opted to make two round cakes with the orange frosting.  I also decided that I needed to add some extra ingredients to make sure it was moist and citrusy (is that a word?).  I followed the recipe closely and it lived up to its simple name.  My only deviations from the recipe were that I added 1/4 cup of sour cream to the batter, extra orange zest (1 tsp) to the batter and frosting, an extra tbsp of orange juice to the frosting, and only 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar rather than the recommended two cups.  I baked the cakes for the recommended time, and let them cool for an hour before frosting them.

After dinner last night we both tried the cake and it was good! Moist and orangey, without being too sweet or overwhelming…and worthy of going to work with my guy the next morning.  We will see what the guys at his work think…

Well, there it is, this week’s entry and my first documented attempt at seasonal baking…on to the next one…

p.s. While researching this recipe I came across an insane looking orange-chocolate ganache four-layer cake which I am seriously considering attempting soon, I’ll let you know…


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