I’m celebrating spring with cake!
Spring in Texas is part beauty and part terror. The beauty comes from the wildflowers that spring to life, seemingly overnight, along the roads and in fields. I drove down to Houston last weekend and was dazzled by fields filled to bursting with vivid Bluebonnets, Indian Paint Brushes, and Buttercups. Watching the colorful flowers wave gently in the breeze is almost hypnotic. If you have not been to Texas during wildflower season you have not seen Texas at her colorful best. The flowers are thick this year because, after years of severe drought, we have gotten some much needed rain. Not enough to ease the drought mind you, but more than years past. This rain often comes at a price. In North Texas we have already had tornadoes, hail, and dangerous winds to accompany the rain we so desperately need. To get the beautiful flowers we have to keep a watchful eye to the sky.
I would rather celebrate the beauty of the season, and I decided cake would do the job! This cake is delicate, moist, and flavored with buttery honey and sunny orange. It is wonderful for dessert, breakfast, at tea time, or on a picnic. Do not skimp on the beating time. When I say 10 minutes, I really mean 10 minutes. You want to build delicate air bubbles in the fat and eggs so your finished cake will have a velvety texture. Some notes on flavor: I was able to find Honey Oranges at my market. They have a similar flavor to a mandarin orange but with a little more sharpness. Any ripe orange will work here, or even Meyer Lemons if they are in season. I like to make this cake a day ahead, and will keep for three to four days in an air-tight container at room temperature. Making it a day ahead gives the flavors a chance to develop, and the texture is better with a little time. Happy Spring!
- For the cake:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- Heat the oven to 350 F and generously spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In the work bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, cream cheese, honey, coconut oil, and orange zest. Beat until completely combined, about 5 minutes at medium speed. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 2 minutes on medium speed after each egg is added. The mixture may appear broken at this stage.
- In a measuring cup combine the sour cream and orange juice and mix well. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Add the whisked dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour, mixing until the dry ingredients are just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center and the edges of the cake start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
- While the cake cools prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. The glaze should pour easily. Add additional juice if needed to achieve your preferred glaze consistency.
- Once the cake is cooled glaze as desired. Allow the glaze to set up for 1 hour before serving.
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