Orange Cake-A Favorite "Silver Palate" Recipe
A beautiful Orange Cake
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A Silver Palate Cookbook gem
I have a 1982 printing of "The Silver Palate Cookbook." I've owned this book for at least 20 years and my copy has bent pages, food stains and even a couple gravy spills. Some of my favorite recipes I've made multiple times. Recipes like:
- Chicken Marbella - rich with prunes and green olives
- Lemon Chicken - so much good lemon-y flavor with all the fresh lemon juice, grated lemon zest and even the lemon extract
- Beef Carbonnade - this is rich, dark and robust. The first time I made this main course was when my older daughter was an adolescent and riding her bike home from a friend's house. I remember clearly because it's the time she ran her bike into a parked car and broke her finger. Poor thing. I had to let the Carbonnade sit while we took her to the emergency room to get her finger set and bandaged. When I got back and finished the dish...it turned out wonderful.
I like to cook but I'm not much of a baker. Lately, however, I've decided to give the cookies, cakes and other desserts in this book a try. Some are more labor and time intensive than others, but recently I tried one that turned out to be well worth my efforts: Orange Cake. There are two "orange cakes" on page 297 [of my edition]. One is "Orange Cake," and the other, "Orange Poppy-Seed Bundt Cake." But since my family is no fan of those little black seeds, I went with the plain "Orange Cake."
How I made the Orange Cake
I decided to go all out with the butter on this recipe. Without a thought to being fat free or low fat, I got a block of the real thing: Irish Butter. I found some Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter at my grocery store. A bit expensive, but sometimes a fine results depends upon the fine ingredients that go into it. That included the sugar I bought. I got the fine "baker's" sugar.
For flour I used what I always do: Gold Medal Flour - all purpose. I've never purchased cake flour...and I never sift. Maybe that's why I'm not much of a baker. I only ever purchase brown, free-range eggs, so that's what I used in this recipe.
The recipe calls for the "grated zest of 2 oranges." I had on hand some gigantic navel oranges from Australia, so I used only one. I got quite a bit of zest off that one orange. "Zesting" takes a bit of time and effort. The ingredient list also calls for fresh orange juice, but I didn't squeeze it fresh. I did, however, purchase a quart of pretty good quality juice-only orange juice.
I took my time with this project. I creamed the butter and gradually added the sugar; then the egg yolks and orange zest. After mixing together the dry ingredients I added them alternately with the orange juice. Now here is where I always have a challenge: I forget how "poofy" flour can be. I'll add some and then immediately attack it with the wooden spoon sending a cloud of flour flying off over the counter. I did this three times - you'd think I'd learn.
Once all the mixing was done and I'd put the batter into the bundt pan I was quite pleased. The batter itself tasted great - only a tiny taste as eating raw eggs is always a bad idea. The recipe calls for baking the cake 30 to 35 minutes. My oven runs hot, so I set it for 30 minutes at the suggested temperature of 350 degrees F.
Orange Cake makes a great dessert
I have a wonderful Bundt pan...and although it is nonstick, I still lather it with butter, prepping it as if it weren't nonstick.
After the appointed time I took it out, set the pan on a rack, set the timer again for 10 minutes at which time I made the orange syrup for the glaze. The cake came out of the pan perfectly after the 10 minute cool-down. It looked terrific. I drizzled it with the syrup and let it cool.
This cake came out tasting very good. The only change I would have made was to bake it about 4 or 5 minutes less for my oven...it was the tiniest bit dry. Actually, the next day, heating a slice in the microwave for 10 seconds both warmed it and made it moister. It tasted even better. It was a great hit with my 2-year old grandson