There are a few blogs that I check daily just to see if there is anything new. Most bloggers only post a few times a week, but I can almost always count on Baking Bites to post new recipes or reviews of products. I have tagged 19 of my posts with Baking Bites which makes that site one my most popular sources for recipes (currently Dorie Greenspan is tagged 30 times, and the Pastry Queen 23).
Like most of the recipes on the site, this one just looked good and fairly easy to put together. No complicated steps or ambitious projects here -- just a great recipe with an interesting twist. In this case the interesting twist was that a whole orange -- rind, peel, and all -- was used. By chance, I had an orange to use up so it was perfect.
The orange (minus seeds) is put into the food processor along with some raisins and walnuts and then ground fine. You can't really taste the raisins or the walnuts in the finished product, but you certainly get a really interesting chewy texture because of it. The orange peel also offers a faint bitter flavor in the background which complements and tones down the sweetness of the cake. The only thing I would really change at all would be to add some chopped walnuts to the finished cake batter to get the contrasting crunch that I am almost always looking for -- my philosophy is that pretty much everything is better with nuts -- cookies, brownies, cake, scones... they all benefit from the texture and crunch of walnuts and pecans.
1 medium orange
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cups all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar 1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1/3 cup (fresh) orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Cut orange in half and remove all seeds. In a food processor, whizz orange (with the peel and everything), walnuts and raisins. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk and the rest of the flour. Stir in the orange/walnut/raisin mixture and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top springs back.
While the cake is baking, whisk together all the topping ingredients (walnuts are optional) in a small bowl. When cake comes out of the oven, pour topping over hot cake and let it sit while the cake cools.
Cool completely before serving.