Thursday, November 20, 2014

orange-pecan-spice pound cake

The Cake Slice Bakers are baking from a new book this month! For the next year, we shall be baking from Southern Living's "The Southern Cake Book". To say that I am totally excited about this book will be an understatement. The book is full of one delicious looking cake after another!

This also marks the beginning of my second year with the Cake Slice Bakers. Initially I thought I would commit for a year's worth of baking but it has been such a great experience that I decided to continue baking with the group for another year. I love the fact that I get "pushed" to bake something that I would never have otherwise tried.
We were given 4 cakes to choose from, and I picked this Orange-Pecan-Spice Pound cake for two reasons. The first being that I was really attracted by the flavor profile of the cake - all that fruit and spice combination really reminds me of Christmas. Indeed, this will be a fantastic cake to bake for Christmas if you are after a non-boozy Christmas cake!

The second reason was that I have a bag of pecans sitting in the fridge. As you know, I am not a big fan of nuts so this is a great way to use 'em up!
If you are keen to give this cake a try, here are the step-by-step baking instructions.

Chop then toast the pecans on a tray in an oven at 200°C for about 5-10 minutes until they are slightly brown. You must keep an eye on the nuts because they burn easily.
Butter or grease a tube pan and layer about 2/3 of the pecans at the base. Set this aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until the mixture turns light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat after each addition until the eggs are incorporated.
Add the flour/salt and the milk in the sequence flour-milk-flour-milk-flour. Do not over beat.
Finally, add the spices, extracts and the remaining pecans.
Spoon the batter on top of the pecans in the tube pan.
Smooth the top with a spatula. Lift the pan about 10 cm off the table and drop it onto the table. Repeat a couple of times.
Bake at 150°C for 1 hour 30 minutes (start checking after 1 hour), or until a skewer inserted into the cake emerges cleanly.

NOTE: I halved the quantities and baked my cake in a 18 cm (7") tube pan at 150°C for about 1 hour.

Once the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before removing it and placing it (pecan-side up) on a wire rack. Brush the cake with the orange syrup.
While the cake is baking, make the orange syrup by adding orange juice, sugar and orange zest into a heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until all the sugar has melted.
Bring this to a boil, then turn the heat off. Set this aside to use after the cake has been removed from the pan.
This is a very moist cake. It really reminds me so much of Christmas.
Yes, that time of the year is coming and I am entertaining thoughts of getting the tree out of the storeroom. Hmm. :)

RECIPE
Orange-Pecan-Spice Pound Cake (Serves 12-16)
Adapted from "The Southern Cake Book" by Southern Living

Ingredients:
For the cake:
2 cups (256g) finely chopped pecans, toasted and divided
2 cups (450g) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups (600g) sugar - I reduced this by 66%
6 large eggs
4 cups (500g) plain flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (180ml) milk
2 tablespoons grated orange zest 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5ml) lemon extract
1 teaspoon (5ml) orange extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

For the orange syrup:
1/2 cup (120ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup (200g) sugar - I reduced this by 50%
Zest of an orange

NOTE: I halved the quantities and baked my cake in a 18 cm (7") tube pan at 150°C for about 1 hour.

Method:
For the cake:
1. Chop then toast the pecans on a tray in an oven at 200°C for about 5-10 minutes until they are slightly brown. You must keep an eye on the nuts because they burn easily.
2. Butter or grease a tube pan and layer about 2/3 of the pecans at the base. Set this aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until the mixture turns light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat after each addition until the eggs are incorporated.
5. Add the flour/salt and the milk in the sequence flour-milk-flour-milk-flour. Do not over beat.
6. Finally, add the spices, extracts and the remaining pecans.
7. Spoon the batter on top of the pecans in the tube pan.
8. Smooth the top with a spatula. Lift the pan about 10 cm off the table and drop it onto the table. Repeat a couple of times.
9. Bake at 150°C for 1 hour 30 minutes (start checking after 1 hour), or until a skewer inserted into the cake emerges cleanly.
10. Once the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before removing it and placing it (pecan-side up) on a wire rack. Brush the cake with the orange syrup.

For the orange syrup:
1. Make the orange syrup by adding orange juice, sugar and orange zest into a heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until all the sugar has melted.
2. Bring this to a boil for 1-2 minutes (keep an eye on it), then turn the heat off. Set this aside to use after the cake has been removed from the pan.

Always a pleasure to be baking with


4 comments:

  1. Your pecans from the fridge do make this gorgeous cake especially gorgeous, Diana!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh what a pretty cake Diana! I love the combination of all of these spices and orange together. I will definitely have to give this one a try. I think it's going to be a good book, no? : )

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Diana! Isn't it perfect? Its's such a super charged cake that just tastes delicious! Here's to the start of a great new baking year! Hazel x

    ReplyDelete