Orange cake always reminds me of my Nona. I remember eating it when I was a little girl, visiting her in Greece during the summer. My Grandmother shares my love for cooking and baking, we can chat on the phone for hours about baking bread or cake. She loves orange cake, and when I say love it I mean she always talks about her orange cake because it is to die for. I’ve always been kind of scared of making an orange cake because what if it wasn’t as good as my Nona’s! While I do cherish my Nona’s recipe for Orange Cake, it was only fitting that when I was sent a copy of Grace’s Sweet Life that Grace’s recipe of Orange Cake caught my eye.
Grace’s Sweet Life is a cookbook and blog written by Grace Massa Langlois, and it reveals the secrets to Italy’s most delicious, homemade Italian desserts. The book is filled with delicious, authentic recipes for Italian desserts and I’ve been obsessed with trying all the recipes ever since I first got the book. Up next is the Lemon Meringue Tartlette. I love the way Grace’s voice comes through strongly in her cookbook, each recipe comes with a descriptor, whether it be a little anecdote or an explanation of the recipe, it’s lovely, especially for a non-Italian cook! Giveaway details are after the recipe.
FOR THE CAKE
6 large eggs, separated
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp superfine sugar, divided
grated zest of 2 oranges
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
FOR THE SYRUP
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup superfine sugar
zest of 1 orange in large strips (no pith attached)
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
2 to 3 tbsp orange liqueur
FOR THE CAKE:
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and the whites in the bowl of a standmixer. Cover each with plastic wrap and leave for 30 minutes, allowing to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 and coat the sides of a pan (I used a 10 x 3 in. Springform Pan)
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
Using a handheld mixer, beat the egg yolks, oil, vanilla extract and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. About 2 minutes.
Beat in the orange zest and juice.
Next, in the stand mixer, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. When the whites are foamy, add the cream of tartar. At the soft peak stage, add the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar.
Fold in one-third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Then carefully, fold in the remaining whites until combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50-60 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
FOR THE SYRUP:
Over medium heat, bring the orange juice, sugar, zest and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, add the liqueur and continue summering until the syrup reduces slightly. About 5-8 minutes.
Remove from heat and strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve.
Serve the cake with warm orange syrup.
And for you, my lovely readers I have one copy of Grace’s Sweet Life for one of you to win.
Giveaway is open to legal residents over the age of eighteen (18) in the US and Canada (excluding Quebec).
To enter, leave a comment on this post letting me know your favourite Italian dessert.
All entries must be received by midnight, EST on Tuesday, June 26th. Winner will be chosen via random.org and notified via valid email address.