Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake from Baking Chez Moi


Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake

If it wasn’t for Dorie Greenspan I would never bake a thing. (Ok, maybe chocolate chip cookies from the recipe on the back of the bag). Years ago she convinced me that making her chocolate ganache tart was a snap and she was right. I was so proud (and astonished) by the gorgeousness of said tart, I ran over to the coffee shop at Ashlawn Farm and handed out slices. Since then, I’ve gained a bit of baking confidence and once a year or so give it a go (you read about my blueberry pie a few weeks ago right?). Well, I was lucky enough to get a galley of Dorie’s new book, Baking Chez Moi and set to it. First, of course, I emailed Dorie for the easiest recipes. She suggested Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake. She wasn’t kidding. The batter comes together in 15 minutes and if you’ve got a couple of oranges on hand, the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples. It’s just the sort of cake I love, yummy for dessert but also nice with tea in the afternoon or a sliver for breakfast. The orange syrup glaze can be brushed on with a heavy hand (my preference) or not at all (the husband’s). This one’s a keeper. 

Baking Chez Moi will be released on October 28th. Preorder here.

For the Cake:

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 large orange

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the syrup:

1/2 cup sugar

Juice of 1 orange

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan, dust with flour and tap out the excess. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Put the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl in which you can use a hand mixer. Grate the zest of the orange over the sugar. Squeeze the juice into a measuring cup–you should have about 1/3 cup, but a little more or a tad less won’t throw things off.

Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. If you’re using a stand mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment and attach the bowl. Add the butter to the bowl and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each one goes in, then pour in the juice and beat to blend. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. The batter may look a little lumpy and grainy, but that’s fine. Turn the batter out into the cake pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake will be pale, the bottom even paler. As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, unmold it onto a cooling rack, invert it onto another rack and then put the rack over a baking sheet lined with plastic film or foil.

Meanwhile make the syrup: as soon as the cake goes into the oven stir the sugar and orange juice together in a small bowl, and then stir a couple of times while the cake is baking. Don’t worry if the mixture is a little grainy–it will still soak into the cake nicely.

Spoon or brush the syrup over the hot cake, working slowly so that it soaks into the cake. I use only half of the syrup–I like the cake moist but not wet–but you can use more if you want a thoroughly-soaked through cake.