I love books. Maybe it’s because my mother was a librarian for a time when I was growing up, and we spent many summers at the library while she worked? Who knows!! I do imagine however, that it would be no surprise to anyone that I own a lot of cookbooks. I even have a closet under the stairs that we affectionately call the “Harry Potter closet,” and that is where I store all of them.
Unfortunately it’s not big enough for my entire collection. . .anymore. So I’m cooking and baking my way through them. This cake came from one of those cookbooks!
It’s quite deceiving because of the brown color (brown often = dry), but it is incredibly moist, light, and has a delicious slight orange flavor. I contemplated adding orange extract, but my husband loves it just like it is and even requested it for his birthday a good 11 months from now! However, I did add the orange extract as an option below if you’re interested in punching up the flavor.
And just a heads up, there is a soaking syrup so be sure to make that while the cake is baking!
Rustic Orange Cake Adapted from Grace’s Sweet Life
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons sugar, divided
grated zest of 3 oranges (using a microplane grater)
1 cup of freshly squeezed oranges, approx. 3-4
1 teaspoon pure orange extract, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray a tube pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Separate the eggs: place the egg yolks into a large mixing bowl and the whites into a medium mixing bowl.
In the bowl with the egg yolks, add the canola oil, vanilla, orange zest and 1 cup of sugar. Set aside to beat in a moment.
With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy and slowly add in the 2 Tablespoons of sugar in small increments, while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form; set aside.
Using the same hand mixer, beat the egg yolk mixture together for about 2 minutes, or until light in color. Beat in the orange juice, orange extract (if using), baking powder, and salt until combined.
Beat in the flour until completely incorporated. Then fold in the beaten egg whites until there are no more white streaks or lumps.
Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake for 35-40 minutes (rotating the pan halfway through), until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Pour the orange syrup over the cake right out of the oven. Let it soak in for about 5 minutes. Then invert the cake (the top will be sticky from the syrup – so perhaps invert the cake onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and then flip it right side up onto a cake round or serving platter, and carefully peel the parchment off the top. I flipped mine straight onto a wire rack and that is why it has those ridges on top – I’m trying the parchment method next time!
Dust the cooled cake with powdered sugar before serving.
While the cake is baking make the orange syrup!
Orange Syrup Adapted from Grace’s Sweet Life
1/2 cup of fresh squeeze orange juice (1 – 2 oranges)
1/2 cup sugar
strips of zest from 1 orange, using a zester
In a small pot, add all of the ingredients and boil on high just until the sugar is completely dissolved. Take it off the stove and strain through a sieve, set aside to pour over the baked cake.