Williamsburg Orange Cake
This cake has been a traditional cake in my family for about 28 years. I cannot remember where I found the recipe, but I've altered it a bit here and there. I hope your family likes it as much as mine. I always make this on December 23 and have it on Christmas Day. The two days gives it time to meld all the flavors together and age a bit. Store in a cake carrier in the refrigerator until ready to slice and eat. Give it time, though, as it's better at room temperature.
3-1/2 c sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c pecans, chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries, lightly chopped
1 c butter (unsalted), at room temperature
1-1/2 c sugar
4 large eggs
1-1/4 c buttermilk
2 tsp orange extract
grated zest of 3 oranges (or 5 tbl)
Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan, or use a baking spray. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350*.
Sift together: flour, baking soda, salt. Set aside. Combine pecans and cranberries in bowl and toss with 1/4 c of the flour mixture. Set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
With mixer on low, add flour mixture to egg/sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in the orange extract. Stir in grated zest and nut-current mixture.
Spoon into pans. Bake 55-60 minutes. Toothpick test.
5 tbl butter (unsalted), room temperature
3 c sifted confectioners sugar, divided into 1 c portions
3 tbl orange juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp orange extract
1 tbl grated orange zest
3 tbl of peeled orange zest (long peelings)
In large bowl of mixer, cream butter until creamy and smooth. Add 1 c of confectioners sugar at a time, alternating with a tablespoon of orange juice, lemon juice, and orange extract. Stir in the zest. Store in refrigerator unless cake is cool and ready to be decorated.
When cake is completely cool, use a small spatula to put the icing on the cake, on each side and top, and in the center. Use a smaller spatula to make swirls in the icing. Put the long orange zest peelings on the top of the cake in a pretty way. Enjoy!
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Terrie Bentley McKee is the author and head cook and bottlewasher at Homeschooling One Child. Her sous chef is her daughter, Laura.