Friday, December 17, 2010

Orange Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache

It's that time of year when we turn to favorite family recipes and timeless flavors: Apples, citrus and spice; rich chocolate spiked with mint or orange; cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

Last year, my mother asked me to make a chocolate-orange dessert for our family Christmas party. I felt intimidated because it's not a combination I usually turn to, but I found this fantastic recipe for orange pound cake, then covered it in ganache. It was phenomenal! Moist and fragrant. Just the right touch of orange flavor without being overpowering. Mmmmm...

I made it again this year for a neighborhood party, and there wasn't a crumb left!
Are you drooling yet?

This is one of my showstopper recipes, so it does require a bit of work, but I swear it will pay off.

Orange Pound Cake

for the cake
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup grated orange zest (4 to 6 oranges)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

for the soaking syrup
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. freshly squeezed orange juice

for the glaze (optional)

2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Heat the oven to 350 and grease and flour two loaf pans or one bundt. (I used Pam with Flour and that was fine.)

Then cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle for 5 minutes (or until it's fluffy). Put the mixer on medium and add the eggs one at a time, then add the orange zest.

Sift the flour, baking powder, soda and salt into a large bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the orange juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and the buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide between the two pans (or pour into your one bundt), smooth the tops... and bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Once out of the oven, cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on to a rack. Here you will glaze with the syrup you made while it was baking:

You make this syrup by cooking 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup orange juice in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Spoon onto the cake while both the cake and syrup are still warm, then let the cake cool completely.

Once the cake is completely cooled, cover it with rich chocolate ganache.
{Oh yes. I went there.}

Chocolate Ganache

1 1/2 c. heavy cream
16 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate (I use Girardelli 60% chocolate chips -- no need to chop)

Chop chocolate and place in medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat cream until hot but NOT boiling. Pour over chocolate in bowl and stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. (You could also heat your cream, carefully supervised, in the microwave.) Pour immediately over cooled cake. Save leftovers to eat with a spoon later. (I know you will.)

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  1. This looks like a very nice cake to try. Love the chocolate!

  2. This sounds fabulous, Kristyn! Here's my question: I know that baking with room temperature ingredients is the best way to go, but how on earth can you tell when eggs are at room temperature? I don't want to leave them sitting out so long that they go bad!

  3. That's a god question, Rachel. I don't like to leave my eggs sitting out either. So I have a trick:

    I take my eggs out of the fridge and put them in a bowl. Then I fill the bowl with hot tap water. The eggs will cool the water down pretty quickly, so I change the water out a couple of times until the eggs no longer feel chilly to the touch.

    It shouldn't take more than ten or fifteen minutes or so.

    If you try it, let me know if it works for you!


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