Saturday, December 19, 2015

Orange Cake With Raisins & Cranberries

Orange cake with raisins and cranberries
My cake sits on a tree stump on the way to visit my mother
I had gone on a short trip to visit my mother. Any trip home is accompanied by a few cakes that I bake and shared with near and dear ones. And instead of the usual table and the usual background, it's a wonderful change to photograph a cake or food, for that matter, against a different backdrop. And since the temperature has come down carrying food does not have the hazards that come with unbearable heat.
The road goes through small towns, villages and the wilderness. It's the last that I love and I'm always on the lookout for what ever is in bloom. But the view of the green hills was not clear for most of the journey as they were enveloped by fog. So I had to make do as soon as the fog cleared and a faint view of the hills came to sight.

Some parts of the jungle were ablaze with this vibrant colour of the Chinese hat plant.

Whereas other area had these pretty miniature blooms from a type of morning glory.
Orange cake with raisins and cranberries

When I leave the house for a few days (or weeks) I make sure to finish off whatever I have in stock. Cranberries were an afterthought but I added them and liked the slight sourness it brought in between bites. And there was less than a handful left.
Ingredients:
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup butter, softened
The juice of 1 large orange
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
3-4 tsp buttermilk
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in warm water
1/3 cup dried cranberries
For the topping: 
Finely sliced zest of 1 orange
The juice from the same orange
3 tbs sugar + extra for boiling the zest
Method: 
Grease a bundt tin and dust it with flour.
Squeeze out the water from the raisins and set aside.
Sieve the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
In another bowl, cream the butter and the sugar till pale.
Add the eggs one by one. Add the next egg after the previous one is fully incorporated in the mixture.
Add the orange juice and zest. 
Add the buttermilk and mix well. The amount depends on getting the right consistency in the batter.
Fold in the flour, almondmeal, and lastly the dried fruits.
Mix gently and pour the batter in the greased and flour-dusted tin.
Give the tin a good tapping on your work surface to remove any air bubbles.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 30 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 
Orange cake with raisins and cranberries

As the cake bakes, boil the sliced orange zest in 3-4 changes of water to remove the bitterness.
Then add sugar as per taste to a about 1/3 cup of water in a pan and let the water reduce. Then add the orange zest, give it a good stir and take the pan off the heat.
Transfer the sweetened zest to grease-proof paper and let it cool as the cake bakes.
Once the cake is out of the oven and is cooling, add the sugar to the juice of one orange.
Take the cake out of the tin when it is still warm.
Scatter the zest all across the surface and drizzle the juice/sugar mix across the circumference of the cake.
I love citrus-y cakes and the hint of orange and the zest made it so refreshing. I realized as I removed the cake from the tin that bundt tins require more than a regular greasing. They need a slathering of butter. Which is why there are some cracks at the bottom as I struggled to prise the cake out of the tin. But this was a cake made with love and the recipients, including my dear mother, had only praise for this cake.:)
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