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Delicious orange cake

Today I tried out the Gâteau Piège recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini. The result was delicious: a tender, orange flavored cake which reminded me of a slightly crumbly pound cake. Baking it also made the house pleasantly sweet-smelling. Thanks, Clotilde!

Modifications: I used only 1/3 cup of orange juice, which came from one and half navel oranges (the cold weather likely affected their juiciness). And I added the zest of one orange to the sugar and butter, then creamed those ingredients in the mixer at high speed. Since I used unsalted butter, I added a rounded 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to the batter. Because our oven always seems a bit on the cool side, I ended up baking the cake for 40 minutes, using a 9 inch round pan. A dollop of whipped cream (with a touch of sugar and Grand Marnier) is a lovely garnish, but certainly not necessary.

Even though this turned out to be quite tasty, I’ll try the following next time:

  • Line the pan with parchment paper, in addition to the butter and sugar. The cake’s sides pulled away nicely, but its bottom stubbornly remained sugar-glued until I cut it in half and scraped out both halves with a thin spatula. I had let it cool for 10 minutes beforehand. However, this did allow me to taste test the cake with impunity. (Adding parchment paper helped a lot! I had melted butter, brushed that on, placed the paper on the bottom, brushed the paper with butter, then coated with sugar.)
  • Beat the eggs in a jug and slowly add them to the creamed mixture, so that they’re more smoothly incorporated into the batter. (Made a small improvement.)
  • Maybe use an 8 inch round pan for a somewhat taller cake. Would need to increase the baking time accordingly. (Oddly enough, the cake didn’t seem much taller. Baking time with the smaller pan was 45 minutes.)

Addenda, 8 April 2007: Meyer lemon is an excellent substitute for orange! I used the zest of 2 lemons, plus 1/3 cup of lemon juice. The age of your baking powder really makes a difference, too: Using a fresh new container, it rose half again higher than previous attempts, and I only needed to bake an 8 inch round cake for 38 minutes. Another observation from an earlier experiment: While blood orange taste good here, the lovely red pigment reacts with the baking powder to yield a greenish-bluish-greyish cake. Not very attractive!

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