Cherry orange loaf cake
Dried cherries, pecans and orange zest and juice flavor this not-too-sweet cake, perfect for a holiday breakfast or with coffee and tea.
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1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Soak cherries in a bowl of hot water for at least 20 minutes.
Pour a little vegetable oil – a teaspoon or less – into a 4×8-inch loaf pan and wipe with a paper towel to coat the bottom and sides. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of sugar. Shake, tilt and tap the pan to spread the sugar evenly and coat sides and bottom. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flaxseed meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir well to mix ingredients evenly.
In a measuring cup, combine buttermilk, remaining 1/4 cup of oil, orange zest and vanilla. Drain cherries thoroughly and blot dry with paper towels.
Combine remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar and eggs in another large bowl. Beat with electric mixer at high speed for 3 minutes until pale and thick.
Add flour mixture to egg mixture, alternating with buttermilk mixture. Start and end with the flour mixture. I generally do about 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the buttermilk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk and the final 1/3 of the flour. You do this so everything blends more smoothly, so you’re not trying too mix too much dry and wet stuff all at once.
Stir cherries and chopped pecans into batter, mixing carefully to distribute them evenly.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350º for 55 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Insert probe in the crack that inevitably forms along the top of the crust—the cake forms a fairly sturdy crust that may serve as a natural scraper, removing telltale underdone batter and leave you with an underdone cake.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes on wire rack. Then remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack. I find that working around the edges of the cake with a thin, flexible baking spatula helps loosen it so it will come out easily.
Frost the cake: Make sure the cake is completely cooled before frosting it. Combine powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Mix it carefully, pressing on it with the back of a spoon to smooth out any little lumps of powdered sugar. And don’t mix the frosting until you’re ready to use it – it will harden quickly and become unusable if you make it ahead. Drizzle over top of cake.
I use a spoon to drizzle the frosting and control it better. Whatever you do, frosting will run down the side of the loaf and pool in the plate. You can either frost the loaf on the serving plate and let the hardened frosting puddle be part of the presentation, or frost it on one plate, then transfer the finished cake to the serving plate.
Don’t you hate when you miss an anniversary? I’m happy to report that I’ve never forgotten our wedding anniversary, but I did miss Blue Kitchen’s third anniversary. Yep. As of November 1st, I’ve been doing this for three years now. So good to be past the terrible twos.
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