After two hectic months of work, it is finally time for a short break. While I recharge myself physically and emotionally so that I may be all ready to take on any challenges or pressures at work, it is also time to revisit my pantry and say Hi to my baking books once again.
Looking at the few blocks of Président French butter tucked away quietly in my refrigerator, I felt that it was time to whip up a butter cake; something simple yet able to satisfy my sweet palate at the same time.
Referring to the Sicilian Orange Cake recipe from Almost Bourdain, a fuss free recipe that uses but a few easy to obtain ingredients, the end result was a fluffy and tender butter cake with bursts of bright citrusy flavour from the orange zests used.
I particularly loved the proportion of butter, sugar and eggs formulated in this recipe. When doing most butter cakes, the amount of eggs used is often too much for the volume of creamed butter to hold. This often results in a somewhat curdled mixture which is said to affect the fluffiness of the resulting cake or may cause the cake to be oily.
When I was adding eggs (170g) to the creamed butter ( 250g), the eggs and butter emulsified beautifully without a single trace of separation, making the mixing process a reassuring one. I strongly believe this might be the tipping point before the butter-egg mixture separates should any more eggs be added to the mixture. I will be discussing further on this hypothesis in my upcoming post on banana butter cake.
Orange Butter Cake (recipe slightly adapted from Almost Bourdain)
Serving size: 9 x 5 inch loaf cake, serves about 10 slices.
Taste and texture: Citrusy, fluffy and tender with the right amount of moisture.
Equipment and materials:
- 9 x 5 inch loaf tin
- Handheld electric mixer/ Stand electric mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Wire rack
- flour sieve
- Weighing scale
- Baking/ parchment paper
- Pastry brush for oiling pan
- 250g good quality unsalted butter, softened
- 185g castor sugar
- 170g whole eggs, at room temperature
- 100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- finely grated zests of 2 oranges (see instructions below)
- 250g self raising flour
Preheat Oven and preparing baking tin - Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 9 x 5 loaf tin with baking paper.
Rubbing orange zests and sugar - Grate orange zests over castor sugar to catch the orange oil. Using your hands, rub the orange zests and the castor sugar until the flavour is infused into the sugar. The castor sugar will be pale orange in colour.
Creaming the butter - In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and orange-infused sugar on medium high speed for about 5 minutes until pale and fluffy (as mentioned in how to cream butter).
Adding eggs to creamed butter - Add beaten eggs to creamed butter in 6 additions and mix on medium speed, ensuring each addition is well incorporated before adding the next addition. The batter will become wet as more eggs is added but will slowly firm up when the last portion of eggs are mixed in.
Adding flour mixture and orange juice - Sieve 1/3 of the self raising flour to the egg-butter mixture. Mix on low speed until the last bit of flour is absorbed. Next, add in half the orange juice and continue mixing until the orange juice is incorporated. Repeat the mixing process by sifting another 1/3 portion of self raising flour, followed by the remaining half of the orange juice, lastly followed by sifting in the remaining 1/3 of the self raising flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to incorporate loose ingredients.
Baking the cake - Pour batter into lined 9 x 5 loaf tin. Bake the batter for 50-60 mins at 180 degrees C. Allow cake to cool in loaf tin for 10 minutes before removing cake from loaf tin. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack before storing.