Sunday, April 12, 2009
Orange Upside-down Cake
I went all out for Easter this week. In fact, everyone went all out. I had a half-day of work on Friday and spent my afternoon baking. I can't think of a better way to spend a few free hours, well at least off the top of my head. Joanie and Doug spent all of Saturday smoking the beautiful salmon pictured below. It was so good, it led my mother to loudly declare "I could eat salmon all day," in response to Jason's pensive ponderings on why he loves studying philosophy. Jason said something like, "Philosophy is something I'm really passionate about." And my mom (basically) said (in no small voice), "I'm passionate about eating." Katy was laughing so hard she started crying. To be fair, the salmon was good. (The creme fraiche-ish recipe is also listed below). We had a fun afternoon cramming a dog underneath the table and 13 people around it, even though we were missing my sister Allison. After dessert and ridiculously strong coffee, a group of us rolled ourselves out of the house and down to the park to play croquet. We sort of look like a J. Crew catalog in our Easter best (aside from my house slippers). Even Shelby enjoyed croquet. She frolicked from person to person asking to be petted and didn't even try to steal any of the balls. Orange Upside-down Cake is dessert one of three that I made for the holiday meal. This one was probably the sweetest and the most like a regular cake. Sweet with a subtle note of orange (sounds like perfume). And look how pretty with the caramelized oranges on top. My little sister Emily would not eat them even though I swore they were edible. "It's like candy, Emily." Megan, champion convincer, even joined in. "Emily, it's good. Just try it. Try it." She did. But even Megan couldn't convince her to try the asparagus. Orange Upside-down Cake: inspired by Gourmet Magazine 1 orange 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup water orange zest 1 1/2 cups flour 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 stick unsalted butter 2 large eggs 1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest 3/4 cup buttermilk To caramelize oranges, slice orange into 1/4-inch thick pieces. In a skillet, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Drain and set aside. In the same skillet, add sugar, water and orange zest and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Put orange slices back into the water and simmer gently until water has reduced and is syrupy. Should take 30 to 40 minutes. Remove orange slices with a fork and place in the bottom of greased 9-inch round cake pan. Pour syrup over oranges. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, blend together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and butter until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and mix until smooth. Add in orange zest and mix. (I bought the cutest citrus zester at Target for like $3 on Friday, best buy ever!) Alternately, add dry mixture and buttermilk to the wet mixture until fully incorporated. Pour batter into the cake pan that already has the orange slices and syrup in it. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool and dump cake onto serving dish. Creme Fraiche for Smoked Salmon: sour cream chopped red onion capers parsley Mix all the ingredients together.