zesty orange loaf


I've discovered (again, while in Mexico) another blog that I've become head-over-heels in-love/stalker-obsessed with: Lottie & Doof. With a name full of whimsy, food photos that nearly jump off the page and onto my plate (which I'm holding up to my laptop ... no, just me?), L&D has got everything I'm looking for, including this amazing recipe for orange loaf.

Since I've already tried my hand at a grapefruit pound cake once or twice this season (okay, four times),  I thought I'd mix it up and expand my horizons to other members of the citrus family.

Now, I love all citrus fruits. I love tangerines and clementines and tangelos. I don't discriminate. And I could easily dig into a five-pound bag of oranges and only halfway through realize what I've done. Seriously: it's a love that deep.

So when it comes to incorporating any member of the citrus family into a baked dessert - well, I am sold in thirty seconds or less. There may be a moment of hesitation as I think something like, "Well, I guess I could just eat these pomelos as they are," but. It always comes and goes.

For this recipe, you'll need:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons orange zest (from about 3 medium-sized oranges)
6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan. (Yes! Finally, a pan size that I actually own!) Line the bottom and 2 long sides with parchment paper.

Whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Combine sour cream, orange juice and vanilla in a small bowl - nope, it won't curdle, in case you were wondering the same thing I was. It actually was pretty difficult to resist dipping a spoon into this pretty, peachy-colored mixture. But set aside, if you can.

In the bowl of an electric mixture (if you have one) and using the paddle attachment (le sighhhh..), combine your sugar and orange zest on a low speed. This will start to smell amazing almost INSTANTLY. Drop your butter in about 2 tablespoons at a time until thoroughly combined. Then increase your speed slightly, until the mixture appears light and airy. Add your eggs one at a time, beating slowly to incorporate.

Once you've added all your eggs, alternate between your flour and sour cream mixtures, mixing thoroughly with each addition. (L&D advises that you start and end with your flour mixture. Don't question it.)

Scrape your batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 45-60 minutes - for me, the golden number (which may or may not be a baking pun) was around 52 minutes. All ovens vary, of course.

This cake came out beautifully and strikingly orange, in fact. The color, that is. The taste was more delicate, but definitely there. (It likely would have increased if I had added the glaze recipe, but I'm not really a glaze kind of girl. Unless we're talking about donuts. I'm always interested in talking about donuts).

Still, this light cake could pass for breakfast and an after-dinner option, which is my favorite kind of dessert: not too sweet, not too heavy. Almost as perfect as an orange itself - almost.