Thursday, November 8, 2007

Orange Bundt Cake

The Pastry Queen strikes again. This time as I was flipping through the book considering what I might bake while Chris finished up with dinner, I saw the Orange Date Bundt Cake recipe and knew that recipe was perfect. I had oranges and dates that I wanted to use up, and bundt cakes mix up really quickly and easily. In fact, I had this particular cake in the pan just as the oven finished pre-heating... perfect.

I was quite disappointed though when I made the glaze for the cake, a lot of sugar and some orange juice boiled on top of the stove... it was sickeningly sweet and I was rather disgusted by the flavor. I only discovered how icky it was after I put it all over the cake though. When I put the cake out for my coworkers I was sure I would have to put a disclaimer in my email warning them off if they didn't like really sweet stuff. However, I went ahead and sliced a small piece (for Chris... I swear) and tasted it. It was amazing. Somehow the super sweet glaze melded perfectly with the cake which wasn't overly sweet. The flavor was delicate and orange-y and the dates added a nice counterbalance to everything. Once again, the Pastry Queen was right. :)


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Grated zest of 1 medium orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups buttermilk
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan (either spray it or butter and flour). Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter in a large bowl on medium-high speed about 1 minute until fluffy. Add the sugar and cream on medium-high speed about 30 seconds. Add the eggs all at once and continue creaming for 1 minute. Add the orange zest and vanilla; beat until combined. Add about half the flour, the baking soda, and the salt; mix on medium-low speed until just combined. Add the buttermilk and mix on medium-low speed until just combined. Add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. Gently stir in the dates and pecans.

Spoon the batter evenly into the pan (it will be too thick to pour). Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the cake is brown around the edges, and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes. Invert it onto a rack and cool at least 20 minutes more before glazing. Transfer the cake to a serving plat and gently pierce the cake many time with a toothpick or skewer.

To make the glaze, combine the sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir until the sugar melts. Remove from heat and stir in the zest. Pour the glaze carefully over the cooled cake.

Serve immediately or at room temp. The glazed cake will keep for 2 to 3 days at room temp, well wrapped. It can also be frozen up to 3 weeks.

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