Monday, June 10, 2013

Moroccan Orange Cake

This Moroccan Orange Cake recipe is one of the first things I ever tried when I was learning how to bake, and it still remains one of my family's favorites.

It all began when we bought too much orange juice for a dinner party, and the rest is history. Or something like that.

Most of the ingredients needed for this cake are things I'd normally have lying around the house, which is good for when I've got an itch to bake something. It means it's also good for spur-of-the-moment stress baking.

I've slightly adapted the recipe from this meskouta recipe. Mine runs on the slightly less sugary side; as I've said before, my family tends to prefer desserts that aren't cloyingly sweet. You can experiment with the amount of sugar based on your own tastes.

- 4 eggs
- heaping 3/4 cup sugar *
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups AP flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- zest from 1-2 oranges
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

* original says 1 ½ cups

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease and lightly flour a cake pan (I used a 9"x1.5" round pan, but you could also use a tube pan. I've also made these into cupcakes and a small cake loaf, diminishing the baking time accordingly.)

Start by cracking open 4 eggs. (I used large brown eggs.)

Beat together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until thick. (You can mix the entire recipe's ingredients in one bowl, if you like.)

Gradually beat in the oil.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. (I measured everything into one large measuring cup, but you could use smaller measuring cups as long as you don't lose count of how much of each ingredient you've added so far!)

(Add in the dry ingredients gradually, 1/4 or 1/2 cup at a time, to prevent the flour from flying out everywhere.)

Your batter should be fairly thick, enough to form ribbons when you lift your spoon/mixing utensil/hand mixer.

Now add in the orange juice.

The batter will become runnier, with faster-forming ribbons.

Add in the vanilla extract.

And now for the orange zest! (You can zest the oranges earlier on if you want.) I used zest from one orange. The time it was taking for me to use the grater was starting to grate on me (haha see what I did there?) so I eventually took to the orange with a peeler and then chopped the peels into smaller pieces using a rocking motion of the knife.

If you want extra bite, cut up some of the peel into larger pieces.

Mix well, so that the zest is evenly incorporated.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan/baking vessel of choice, and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done. If your batter has bubbles in it, tap the pan gently against the tabletop.

(My cake got crispy edges when I baked it for 40 minutes, which my dad claims is the best part.)

Let the cake cool in its pan for 7 to 10 minutes, before turning it over onto a rack to finish cooling. (You could probably avoid the crack on the top of the case by using a slightly larger pan. I kind of like it though: reminds me of Doctor Who.)

Top with powdered sugar, if you'd like. I've also decorated with simple icing and orange slices before.

However, it is probably healthier and yet still unbelievably tasty without anything extra! Plus, it's fairly versatile as cakes go: makes for a great dessert and a tasty breakfast. And of course, it's good with fruit (like these fresh cherries) or fruit juice!

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