Friday, May 16, 2008

Orange Crumb Cake

This recipe was actually supposed to be the Cardamom Crumb Cake in the Dorie Greenspan book. I made it once before last year when I first got the book and liked it quite a lot. My friend JB liked it so much that it became a frequent request -- and he doesn't even like cake that much.

I made it the other night because I wanted something quick and something that didn't make a huge batch. I was thinking crumb cake anyway and this one fit the bill perfectly. So why is the the title of this post Orange Crumb Cake instead of Cardamom Crumb Cake? It turns out that I didn't have enough orange zest to make the cake as written. I had enough zest to fulfill the 1 tbsp in the crumb, but that was it. I thought about just leaving the rest of the orange flavor out, but decided to use my Boyajin Orange Oil instead. I only used a 1/4 tsp for the entire cake, but alas, the orange flavor pretty much dominated the cake. It didn't make it taste bad or anything like that, it just didn't seem right to call it a Cardamom flavored anything, when the only thing that you could really taste was orange.

The irony became clear though when I realized that my friend JB -- the one I had in mind when I made the silly thing -- wasn't even at work yesterday.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnut
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
12 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temp

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp finely grated orange zest (or 1/4 tsp orange oil for an orange flavor)
1 stick unsalted butter melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out excess. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and toss them together with a spatula just to blend. Add the butter and, using your fingers or the spatula, mix everything until you've got crumbs of different sizes. It's nice to have a few big pieces, so don't overdo it. Set the crumbs aside.

To make the cake: whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Turn the dry ingredients out onto a sheet of wax paper, and put the sugar and the zest in the bowl. Rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrance of orange strong. (or, if using the oil, put the sugar in the bowl with the dry ingredients, and add the oil to the liquid ingredients)

Put the remaining ingredients in another bowl and whisk them to blend. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir -- don't beat -- to mix. Stir only until you've got an evenly moistened batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and top with a thick, even layer of the crumbs. Pat the crumbs ever so gently into the batter.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake has risen (it will crown), the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer the rack to cool in the pan before serving warm or at room temp.


burkie said...

that silly jb! remind that silly fool to provide his work schedule to you in advance so you can make cardamom cake and bacon cheddar scones and salted oatmeal cookies and sticky buns on the days he's there, and save all those fruit + chocolate concoctions for the days he is regrettably away from the workplace he loves so much.

Mira said...

:) i got a scowl from jb, but russ got me a piece from chris and it was fantastic! i personally loved the orange-y-ness of it all.

poor jb.

burkie said...