Whole Orange Cake: Eating peel and pith

Whole Orange Cake

Similar to how nose to tail eating utilizes all the parts of an animal, this luscious citrusy cake uses the whole orange, rind and all. Okay, okay, the seeds aren’t used but everything else is. And when the peel and pith come together with enough butter and sugar, magic is made. I promise.

I stumbled upon the recipe for this cake in an old issue of Sunset magazine that my mom gave me (apparently hoarding magazines runs in the family). I was lured in because it sounded easy to put together on a work night — puree, blend, bake — and because it was described as being “not too sweet.”

Despite my weakness for hard candy, I tend to prefer tart and tangy desserts over super sweet ones. And since I was craving something bright and summery in flavor, this recipe wasn’t in my hands for longer than a week before I baked it up.

I followed the directions, even managing not to make a single substitution, and it turned out like a ring of sunshine…

It smelled so good straight from the oven -- like freshly squeezed orange juice.

It smelled so good straight from the oven — like freshly squeezed orange juice.

Well, except once I turned the cake out of the pan it had dark spots that made me a little uncertain.

Hmmm

Hmmm…maybe it looks intentional?

But no matter, it wasn’t burnt and the cake itself was still moist and flavorful. While I was nervous the pith would make the cake bitter instead it tasted like it had been made with marmalade. It was slightly dense with a bit of chew from the peel, but not in a bad way. The crumb was tender and it tasted even better after sitting for a day.

In other words, this cake pretty much rocked.

Some reviewers online thought the powdered sugar glaze was too sweet so when I brought it into work, I served it au naturale. Without the glaze it was more of a “quick bread” style of snack that we could eat (relatively) guilt free for breakfast.

Little slice of summer!

Little slice of summer!

But when I served it to my husband the next night, I dressed it up with a drizzle of the glaze. I actually have to say it was good either way. The glaze made it more cake-like (shocking I know) but I didn’t feel like it was too much for it.

Now I’m hooked on the idea of pureeing whole citrus into cakes — I’m sure it’s not a ground breaking concept but I had never thought about it before. I think I need to branch out into a whole lemon cake or maybe Meyer lemon? Or blood orange? Oh the possibilities!

Whole Orange Cake

Whole orange cake with glaze

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