Orange + Ginger Cake

On weekends that I rely on Whatever is in the Pantry for baking ideas, it is most likely that whatever it is will involve some kind of citrus. My household is one that never runs out of it. Oranges, particularly, we get in buttloads (Petition to make “buttload” standard measurement. Also “fuckton”). And as you can see, we tried to make very good use of them in this week’s recipe. Orange and ginger easily make a great combination; their sweetness and heat stand out even in a heavily spiced crumb. Both the orange ginger sauce and the candied orange peels can be made separately and used on other things (crepes, ice cream, bread, etc). We highly recommend that you serve the cake with a scoop of vanilla or maybe a dark chocolate ice cream.

For the cake:
2 sticks / 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup grated ginger
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup yogurt, room temperature
1/2 cup orange juice juice
whole peels of two large oranges
3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp five spice
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange extract

For the orange and ginger sauce:
1 cup orange juice, with pulp
1/4 cup cup white granulated sugar
2 tbsps orange zest
2 tbsps grated ginger
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp five spice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

For the candied orange peels:

peels of two oranges
2 1/4 cups white, granulated sugar
3/4 water

Make your cake. Preheat oven to 176°C/350°F. Grease and flour two 8×2 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment.

In one bowl, combine and whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

Combine yogurt, orange juice and whole orange peels in a blender Blend well. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with your electric mixer at medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar and the grated ginger. Beat for about 3 minutes or until it has become creamy and light-colored.

Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you do. Beat on high speed for 30 seconds after each addition. Beat for 1 minute after all eggs have been added. Add the vanilla and the orange extract.

Add flour mixture and yogurt mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir by hand to finish.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.

Bake at 176°C/350°F for 40-45 minutes (rotate halfway through) or until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the cake pans for at least 10 minutes.

Make your sauce. Mix the orange juice, zest, ginger, sugar, salt and spices in a saucepan. Simmer the juice mixture over medium heat. Add cornstarch. Stir well. Cook for about 10 minutes or until a thick, syrupy sauce has formed. This sauce may be served warm or chilled.

Make your candied orange peels. Rinse the orange peels. Remove the pith. Cut skin into little strips. Place peel strips and water in a saucepan. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain well. Rinse and set aside. Combine water and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add orange peels. Simmer for 45 minutes (occasionally check to make sure syrup does not brown). Drain. Spread out on a plate or piece of foil. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup sugar on top of the orange slices. Toss until peels are evenly coated. Let it cool and harden for at least 10 minutes.

Have some cake. Take a slice. Pour some sauce and sprinkle some candied peels. Serve.

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