Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Five Orange Pips Cake

 As I was reading a selection of Sherlock Holmes stories this past Sunday in honor of his159th birthday (If you missed it, not to worry, he'll have another one next year, that's the beauty of being fictional.), I got to wondering just what kind of cake he might have liked for his birthday. He and Watson spent more of their time solving crimes than at the dinner table, but did indulge in tea, thanks to the insistence of their doting landlady, Mrs. Hudson. When I turned the page revealing the next story, The Five Orange Pips" -- the fifth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, I had my answer. I'd make an orange pound cake, perfect for serving at tea!  A cake that could hold up to long delays in consumption should a case become complicated, and one that could do double duty at breakfast or provide sustenance in the afternoon.

 Holmes would insist upon a cake that was overtly orange, with intense flavor, and not one with taste lurking in the shadows. How could this be accomplished, I wondered?  Orange oil, orange flavoring, orange zest, pulp, juice...what?  And then I was reminded of the advice that Holmes gave Watson when the latter was struggling to comprehend the problem at hand. Concentrate, Watson," he said. Concentrate!" That was it!  Moments later a can of orange juice concentrate was thawing on the counter.  It was just what I needed to make an orange pound cake that really screamed ORANGE!

Mystery lovers, I give you the Five Orange Pips Cake. (No oranges were harmed in the making of this cake and no actual pips were used.)

Five Orange Pips Cake

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar 
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. baking soda 
1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
2/3 cup canola oil
1 Tbs. finely minced orange zest 
1 Tbs. vanilla extract 
3/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
5 large eggs

For the glaze: 
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed 
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted 
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan or 12-cup Bundt pan. Use the simplest Bundt pan that you can find.  Trust me on this.  I used my Cathedral-style pan and am still trying to clean all of the remnants out of it.

To make the cake

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and soda into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until fine crumbs form. Switch to the whisk attachment, and with the mixer running on medium speed, whisk in the oil, orange zest, vanilla extract, and orange juice concentrate.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time.  Increase speed to high and whisk the batter until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 50-65 minutes.

To make the glaze

While the cake bakes, whisk together in a small bowl the orange juice concentrate, butter, and confectioners' sugar. When the cake is done, set the pan on a rack to cool for 5 minutes. With a thin skewer, poke the cake all the way through to the bottom of the pan in about 100 places. Pour 1/2 of the syrup over the cake and let stand for 1 hour before removing the cake from the pan, and glazing with the remaining half.

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Linda said...

What a clever post. :) The photo is making my mouth water. I have tons of fresh OJ, thanks to our neighbors' very productive orange tree hanging over our fence and have actually been craving an orange cake!

Mary said...

Oh so clever of you Pattie to solve the mystery of Five Orange Pips and providing a recipe for cake that would be overtly orange! I love how you concentrated on the problem :) Your cake looks so moist and delicious, I deduce that it would not last for long in my house!

Tracy Wood said...

I can barely concentrate on my work after seeing this lovey cake... I love all things citrus!

Rattlebridge Farm said...

I enjoyed this post! The cake looks moist and mouth-watering--and what a delightful way to sleuth! I hope it's okay if I Tweet about it and Pin.

My Little Home and Garden said...

The pound cake looks delicious and I found the links you made to Sherlock so engaging and clever. What a fun post!

Janel Gradowski said...

I love orange cake and I know my husband does too. So nice that you tied it in to Sherlock Holmes' birthday. I'm sure he would enjoy it immensely.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Cute post :) I was so happy to see that Sherlock should be coming back to PBS in the fall.

What a delicious and moist-looking pound cake and perfect for winter when the citrus is so sweet and good.

Kim of Mo Betta said...

This cake looks and sounds divine, pinning for later!