Autumn is upon us and it’s time for something different. Cakes!
My glazed orange and almond cake with a hint of cardamon is perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, for breakfast (!) or lunch, snacking or dessert.
Up to now we’ve been making a lot of pies. For the most part, pies are easy: pastry, filling, assemble, bake.
Cakes require a little more care. Truthfully, they are less forgiving than a pie. But not that much!
Let’s start simply.
Get all your ingredients mixed and ready to go: flour, baking powder and salt whisked in a bowl, sugar measured, eggs beaten with almond and orange extracts, milk and sour cream stirred together and dried oranges chopped.
The most important thing to know about making this cake is to let your mixer do the work. Take your time beating the butter and adding the sugar and eggs.
Then, when you do add the dry flour and the milk, do so quickly without over mixing. You spent a lot of time putting all that air in the mix, don’t take it out!
Start with soft butter and cardamom. Beat it together until it looks like mayonnaise, creamy and thick. Two minutes or more.
With the mixer on, add the sugar, slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon, beating each addition well. This should take another 2 minutes or more. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Once all the sugar is in, beat it a little longer. Another minute will do.
Next add the eggs beaten together with almond and orange extracts. Again, do this slowly, spoonful by spoonful. Let each bit get well mixed in before adding the next. When you are down to last few spoonfuls, add a tablespoon of the flour and mix it in well. This will help keep the mixture from curdling. (Here’s a secret: even if it does curdle it’s not the end of the world! Just keep going. Your cake may be a little heavy but it will taste good.)
At this point you are done with the mixer.
Use a large metal spoon or rubber spatula to fold in the flour and milk mixtures in turns. Finally add in the mandarin orange bits.
Put it in the prepared pan
and bake it until a tester comes out clean and/or an instant read thermometer reads 200 degrees.
After the cake is fully cooled, mix together the glaze ingredients and pour the glaze over the top. Decorate with additional orange slices if you like.
ORANGE ALMOND TEA CAKE WITH CARDAMON
For the Pan
- 1 tbsp soft butter
- 2 tbsp chopped almonds
For the Cake
- 1 ½ c flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 tbsp milk
- ½ c sour cream
- ¾ c soft butter 1 ½ sticks
- 1 tbsp ground cardamon
- 1 c sugar
- 3 eggs room temperature
- ½ tsp almond extract
- ½ tsp orange extract
- ½ cup dried mandarin orange slices chopped (see note)
For the Glaze
- 1 ½ tbsp milk
- ¼ tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp orange extract
- 1 c powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 9 1/2" x 5" pan by lining it with parchment paper, leaving the edges hanging out. Grease the parchment paper with soft butter. Put 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds in the pan and turn the pan so that the almonds stick on the sides and bottom.
Make the cake.
- Use a fork or whisk to stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir together the eggs, almond extract, and orange extract in another bowl. Stir together the milk and sour cream in a small bowl. Measure out the sugar.
- Put the soft butter and cardamon in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat at medium to high speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides once. The butter should look like mayonnaise in consistency.
- With the mixer running, add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Make sure the sugar is mixed in before each addition and stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. This should take about 2 minutes.
- Once all the sugar is added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the sugar and butter on high speed for another minute.
- With the mixer running on medium high, add the eggs one large spoonful at a time. Let each spoonful mix in completely before adding another. Scrape the bowl after every three or four additions. When there are just one or two spoons of egg left to add, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of the flour mixture to help keep it from curdling.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large metal spoon or rubber spatula to fold in a third of the flour mixture. Fold in half of the milk and half of the rest of the flour. When this is all folded in add the last of the flour, milk and the chopped orange. Fold this together until it is just mixed. Use a light hand for this.
- Spread the mixture in the prepared pan and bake for one hour until the center is cooked. A tester should come out clean and the temperature of the interior reach 200 degrees.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for ten minutes then use the sides of the parchment paper to lift it out of the pan on to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Glaze the cake
- When the cake is completely cool, glaze it by mixing together the milk, extracts and powdered sugar. Adjust the thickness of the glaze by adding more milk or powdered sugar as needed to make a glaze which will pour and drip over the sides just a little.
- Pour the glaze in strip down the center of the cake and spread to the edges with a knife. Decorate with mandarin slices if desired.
Note: You can purchase sweet, dried mandarin slices at Trader Joe’s or online.