Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oranges and More Snow

When we were in DC we ate at a few different restaurants when we were able to travel but we also ate at the hotel restaurant- Palette, which was surprisingly good albeit expensive! We ate at Georgia Brown's, which is supposed to be Southern. I ordered the fried turkey which was very dry and tough but the sides were good. Mr. H ordered the steak and eggs. It was interesting and not at all what you'd expect. I'll leave it at that. We went to Clyde's for Sunday brunch (I had the crab cake benedict) which was tasty but had bad service. We ate at their sister restaurant, Old Ebbitt Grill (I ordered their cannelloni) which was also very good, Hee Been (Korean buffet- the spare ribs were delish!) and Polo India Club (I had malai chicken tikka which was dry but Mr. H's lamb and pea dish was great. So was the naan bread! I think it was my favorite part.

Where am I going with all this? Well as good as the meals were, the desserts were lousy! Now don't start sending me hate mail and leaving me rude anonymous comments (he he!) because I didn't like the desserts in DC. That's not to say that the entire city had bad pastry chefs but there was clearly nothing special about what I had. While there I had a creme caramel, a dry cheesecake (yuck), saffron ice cream (double yuck) a slice of bourbon chocolate chip pie which was nothing more than cookie dough pressed into a pie plate and a fruit platter with the most unripe fruit I've ever tasted. It really was pathetic. My favorite dessert had to have been the complimentary bowl of freshly spun, melt in your mouth, cotton candy that the hotel restaurant brought to us after our meal. One night it was grape and another night we had lime. I've got to get me a cotton candy machine. so fun and billowy!

So to say that I was itching to get back into my own kitchen and bake something was an understatement. I found comfort in a Snickers bar and that's sad when there was so much good food around. The first thing I made when I got home was a pineapple upside down cake- yum! I didn't take pictures of that since I was wanting to get it in the oven and in my tummy quick! But I will share with you an orange cake that I made a few weeks ago since citrus is still in season. It had a great texture. It was dense but melted in your mouth. It was sweet and rich and Mr. H said it smelled and tasted like Fruit Loops :-). The only change I'd make next time is to use sweeter oranges as they were a little lack luster. I'd also use zest in the glaze to up the orange flavor.

I adapted this recipe from grams to cups. The measurements aren't exact but this is the formula I used. I also halved the recipe and baked it in a 9-inch pan rather than a 9x13 or a larger springform pan. If you want a larger cake, you can find the original unedited recipe here.

Orange Cake adapted from Jill Dupleix via Technicolor Kitchen

Cake:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 7 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice

Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice

Heat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Then butter the paper and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar well, until it is very pale and thick - this will take quite a while.

Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition, then add the zest. Add the flour, baking powder and salt all at once, and beat well, then slowly add the orange juice until it is incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and bake for 35-40 minutes - or until an inserted skewer comes out clean (slow is best, so don' t be afraid to cook it longer. If it starts to brown too much on the top, cover loosely with a sheet of buttered foil.)

Allow cake to cool in pan for 15-20 minutes on a wire rack. Then invert onto a plate, remove the parchment paper and allow to cool completely before glazing.

To make the icing, stir the orange juice into the icing sugar until you have the right spreading consistency. Pour the icing onto the cake and spread with a spatula or butter knife, allowing the icing to drip down the sides of the cake.

Leave the icing to set before cutting the cake into wedges or storing in an airtight container.

NOTE: I thought the glaze was rather sweet and needed more orange flavor so I suggest adding some grated orange zest to the glaze for more intense flavor.

Here are a few more pictures from our trip to Washington DC. This was the second day of the snow and the photos were taken around Thomas Circle. It was just starting to get dark when we went out so you may notice the change in the sky as the photos progress. enjoy!

I like this church, can you tell?

Ah, so pretty! I love the snow. (sigh).

47 comments:

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

Mmmm, such a simple, lovely cake! It's calling my name!! I had other dessert plans this weekend, but I might have to change course!!

cookies and cups said...

gorgeous pictures and too bad about the lack of good desserts! That's really strange! BUT you orange cake looks amazing. The first picture is so beautiful :)

~Jewel said...

Wow, DC is my hometown and I can't believe that you didn't find GREAT food. Next time you go, I'll give you some "off the beaten path" places to try. Georgia Browns USED to be my favorite place, but I understand that it's really not so good in the last few years (I've been gone 7 years). Your orange cake looks yummy!!! Thanks for the pictures!

Debbie said...

That cake has my name written all over it. I am definitely making it. It looks delicious! I am not at all surprised that you couldn't find any great desserts. I've lived in Virginia for over 20 years and yes, I've found some wonderful desserts but nothing compared to what I had grown used to while growing up on Long Island. Your pictures are beautiful Monica, and the snow here is finally melting little by little. Hopefully it will all be gone soon!

Joycee said...

The cake will be that bright flavor of spring that we all need so badly now! Loved the pictures, esp. the one of the tree iced thick with snow and the sun peeping through...I'm imagining that's my life right now!

Michel-lee said...

What sweeter oranges would you suggest? My hubby loves orange cake and I've made one that had jello with OJ but not actual oranges. He really loves the orangey taste.

Rachel said...

Pretty pics. I made an orange bread too topped with choco chips. Your cakes has a very tender crumb.

Keeley said...

I love that last pic! I haven't been to Georgia Brown's, but if anyone wants Southern-inspired cuisine, go to B. Smith's. It's expensive (my husband and I had a notorious $100 brunch there once... long story), but the food is great!

Smitten Sugar said...

What beautiful pictures of the pretty snow! The cake looks delicious! Sorry the desserts werent as good as you were hoping!

oneordinaryday said...

What a lovely cake. I especially like the photo of all the zest on the microplane next to the oranges. So pretty.

Maria said...

Love your photos. I am a huge citrus fan and can't wait to try this cake!

dawn said...

I had an orange cake recipe somewhere, but couldn't find it. So glad you posted this as I haven't had it in about 5 years. Looks good. And I remember the glaze being a tad sweet too. Good rec'd.

Haden News said...

Your photography of food and buildings is amazing!!! What kind of camera do you use?

ButterYum said...

Your cake looks yummy. I understand your disappointment completely - restaurant desserts are decreasing in quality at a rapid pace.

Did you by any chance visit Cake Love while in DC?

Kerstin said...

What a gorgeous cake, it sounds so refreshing! Sorry the desserts were disappointing - that's the worst, and seems to be happening more and more often now that I know I can bake better treats!

steph said...

Looks fantastic! Great photos from your trip too. The snow is beautiful

Leslie Limon said...

I could sit at my computer day, just staring at the gorgeous pictures you always post. I grew up in a small town that was surrounded by orange groves, so I'm really going to have to make this cake.

Monica H said...

Jewel- That's okay. Every where we went was by foot so it wouldn't have made much of a difference this time. It was a beautiful restaurant just not very Southern, in my opinion.

Joycee- Actually that's a street lamp shining through the tree limbs :-)

Michel lee- I used Naval oranges. You can use any variety you want just make sure they;re really flavorful.

Keeley- next time!

Haden News- I use a 10 year old digital Sony. It's competely outdated but it still works. it's a DSC-S85.

Butter Yum- No dang it! I don't think we would have been able to even if I knew it was there. The roads were pretty bad.

Kerstin- That's exactly how I felt.

Julie, Dawn, Debbie- I hope you all like it!

xoxo, Monica

Ingrid said...

Your DC photos are lovely but that's no big surprise. That last one is pretty cool looking.

Here's something else that won't be a big surprise. That cake looks and sounds DELISH! I have some blood oranges and am wondering if I have enough to make this!
~ingrid

Memória said...

How dare you not like desserts in DC?! LOL!! That was cruel. I shouldn't joke like that. Sorry!

HOWDY, NEIGHBOR!! I can't believe we live so close to each other!! Woot!

Your cake looks amazing!!!! O-M-G! I just realized something! I can just go to your house and eat all of your desserts instead of making them myself! hehe :)

I love the photos of DC. I'm sorry the food was sub-par. At least you're back in an area with much better food - your kitchen :D.

koprime said...

I think you were misled in your restaurant choices, which is a damn shame, because some of the best food I've ever eaten in restaurants ever is in our nation's capital.

On the list for next time: Restaurant Nora, 2Amys, Murasaki, Belga, Zorba's, La Tomate, Amsterdam Falafel...

Pink Little Cake said...

This cake looks delicious! I have to try it. Pictures are great, we had lots of snow here in NJ too.

Colleen said...

Man that is a good looking slice of cake - thank goodness you don't live near me...or I would pop over all the time to see what's coming out for your oven...then we'd have to go on power walks all the time lol!!

Sherry G said...

That stinks about the desserts! And hopefully no one leaves you hate comments!;) Great recipe! Oranges sounds like a great thing with all this cold weather.

Kim said...

The orange cake looks delicious! I love to go on vacations or visit different cities and try food, BUT I always love to come home and get back in my own kitchen.

oneordinaryday said...

Monica, I'm passing a fun blog award along to you. ;) Hope I got to you before Ingrid did! haha Have fun with it.
~Michelle

Diana's Cocina said...

This cake looks yummy! My grandmother made one just like this, Awwww, the memories :).

Anonymous said...

Love the pics of the church!! I could look at pictures all day long!! Traci- Lubbock

Susan said...

Fabulous looking cake and your photos are gorgeous!!

Julie said...

Seems like I can almost smell the oranginess from here! Sounds truly wonderful, I'm really diggin' citrus lately.

Katie said...

What a shame the desserts weren't up to scratch. I have found siimilar things myself, often mains can be good but there seem to be a lack of pastry chefs. Your cake sounds wonderful. I love moist and dense cakes.

Susan said...

i'm a sucker for anything with citrus inside! your oranges look amazing!!! i wasn't a huge fan of the sugar cookie until i discovered the miracle that a little orange zest can be!

this cake looks yummy!!!

Susan said...

p.s. as a gal who can claim to have been a d.c. lady for three whole years, i am sad for you that you didn't get to enjoy any great desserts. i assure you there are many!

first a negative review: i visited georgia brown's (our first outting as a family when we arrived because my husband's old boss gave us a gift certificate to use there and told us that once we tried their fried chicken we'd never be the same again). so, i ordered the fried chicken with such high hopes - and i was sorely disappointed because it, like your turkey, was dry and not at all what i was hoping for. thank God for those mashed potatoes. :( we never ate there again. no offense to his old boss!

i loved what we ate at old ebbitt grill. my kids loved the decor - even though we ended up sitting out in the courtyard where the fountain is. sadly, we saw no famous politicians.

if you ever visit d.c. again, you must MUST try the district chop house (it's soooooo good), and there are too many places in downtown bethesda as well as georgetown to mention (but i'll put in a word for raku - THE best bento boxes on the planet, and the most amazing teriyaki salmon i've ever EVER had, as well as for mie n yu - not only is their cuisine to die for, but you can eat it on pillows in a giant bird cage if you want to! i had a very lovely birthday meal there!), and just outside of d.c. in rockville maryland are two family owned restaurants (mama lucia's italian and la brasa's latin cuisines will rock your world. mama's eggplant parmagiana is straight from heaven with such thinly sliced eggplant and perfectly melted and golden cheesey topped... and her tiramisu is my husband's favorite. la brasa has the best ever fried plantains and flamebroiled in a clay oven rotissiere (sp?) chicken with delicious dipping sauces. but what has my heart forever is lucy's tres leches cake.

and the barbecue! oh! i miss urban bbq badly! those mashed potatoes and that cornbread and that pulled pork... sigh...

can you tell i miss living on the east coast??? well, i certainly miss the food over there!

susan

ha ha ha - my verification word is "enjoi"

doristhedonkey said...

oooh, sounds soooo gorge! living in morocco we got nothing but masses of oranges too! :)

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I'm saving this recipe. It looks good and my husband doesn't like chocolate (which is what I always want to make) so it will be nice to have something good that he will enjoy! Thanks so much:)

Sue

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I'm with you on desserts. If I'm going to blow my waistline on dessert- it better be worth the guilt. This is gorgeous, Monica! I have oranges in my fridge, and I absolutely positively would love this. It's simple, and looks super easy. Craig will love this one! There's no place like home...

Monica H said...

Susan! You're making me hungry. Where where you before we went to DC? I could have used your recommendations :-)

The reason we went to Georgia Browns was because it was the onlyrestaurant in a 3 block radius that was open because if the snow. Not even Starbucks was open!

Mr. H ordered the steak and eggs. It was a filet mignon with a savory chocolate mole type sauce. Then he had potatoes au gratin but they used shredded breakfast potatoes and put an egg on top of it. It was just weird.

QIS said...

oh..beautiful and delicious looking cake!!

From the Kitchen said...

I just found your delicious blog. I used to live and work in D.C. and remember the restaurant scene well. It's a tough city for restaurants as tastes seem to change with the administration. Your snow photos are wonderful. I hated the snow in Washington because, even with a little, traffic would grind to a halt. I now live in the Chicago area and snow is just an accepted part of winter.

I'd love you to stop by my blog that is just getting started.

Best,
Bonnie

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

Made it, ate it, loved it! I made this as a Clementine Cake and slathered it with clementine curd and heaped on some loosely whipped cream.

Delicious. Thanks for the recipe!! Link above goes to my Clementine Cake post :)

bella said...

That last photo of the sun/moon shining through the snow laden trees and the brilliant blue sky is just remarkable! So Beautiful! Roz

Rachel (rachescakes) said...

All your posts from the 14th forward just popped up in my reader, I'm behind!

I love orange cake so I can't wait to give this a try.

VandaF said...

I made this last night so I wanted to stop by to comment. This cake is FABULOUS! I will definitely be making it again. It baked perfectly (I used a small-ish bundt pan), was super-moist and the orange flavor really came through. Also, I heeded your warning about the glaze being too sweet so I added a squeeze of lemon juice AND orange rind to it and it was PERFECT. Thanks for the recipe. You have a wonderful blog.

Domestic Nerd said...

Yum! I can't wait to try this! I am featuring your recipe as one of our my Friday favorites this week! Come by & check it out: http://adomesticnerd.blogspot.com/2011/04/this-weeks-5-friday-favorites.html

Mara said...

I LOVE cake! And this orange cake looks fabulous!!
There's one thing I really do not understand: why the original recipe (by Jill Dupleix)uses 8 eggs, and yours only 4? Any particular reason?
I want to make it...

Monica H said...

Mara- I didn't need that much cake so I halved the original recipe. That's why I only used 4 eggs instead of 8.

~Monica

Shannon said...

Found you via pinterest and love your blog! :) I was searching for an orange cake recipe and was bemoaning the fact that I was going to have to do math to adapt the recipe myself when I found you have already done it! Thanks! Making this today!

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