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Author Jamie Schler has a sure-fire hit with her new cookbook, “Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet” ($24.99, Gibbs Smith), which is devoted entirely to oranges. Her love of oranges started as a child when she lived in Florida and has only grown larger as an adult. I’m not big on one-subject cookbooks, but this book made me think twice about that. Schler has developed a stunning collection of recipes that make you want to run out to the market and stock up on oranges.
Schler’s love of the orange is reflected in dishes from main courses to dessert. Many of the recipes show off the oranges’ diversity, including recipes for orange fig sauce; orange braised Belgian endive with caramelized onions and bacon; and chocolate orange marmalade brownies. The photos are beautiful, and you’ll find many tips and hints to guide you along the way.
Schler is an accomplished teacher and hotel owner. Together with her husband Jean-Pierre Dagneaux, she runs the Hotel Diderot in Chinon, France, an ancient city in the beautiful Loire Valley. Her three-star property offers not only first-rate accommodations but also award-winning cuisine. Clearly, she never sleeps because she also makes and sells an amazing line of jams.
This glazed blood orange cake turned out to be the perfect recipe to test. I didn’t have blood oranges available, so I used navel oranges instead. I imagine with blood oranges, the cake might have had a more complex, sweet yet slightly bitter flavor. Schler explains: “Thanks to the yogurt and the vegetable oil, this spectacular, intensely orange loaf cake stays moist for several days”. This recipe is Seriously Simple to prepare in the food processor.
Once the cake comes out of the oven, you may find the top is high. When I let it cool, I reversed it on a cooking rack and the top flattened out beautifully. Make sure to poke lots of hole in the warm cake and then spoon over the orange syrup to evenly moisten the cake’s interior. Schler says the glaze is optional, so try it either way.
This cake can be served any time, but I’m serving it for Halloween night this year. You can also serve it with coffee or tea for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, at teatime, or as dessert for lunch or dinner. I can’t wait to try it with blood oranges.
Glazed Blood Orange Yogurt Loaf Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) loaf cake
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened plain whole milk yogurt or Greek yogurt
1 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
Zest of 3 blood oranges
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
For the blood orange syrup:
1/3 cup blood orange juice
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a standard 9-by-5-by-2.5-inch or 8-cup loaf pan; line the bottom with parchment paper and flour the sides of the pan.
2. Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, zests and vanilla until blended and smooth. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined and smooth. Fold the oil into the batter, a little at a time, until well blended and no oil has collected around the edges of the batter.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 50 minutes, or until the center of the cake is moist but set and a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean.
5. Prepare the orange syrup by placing the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until warm and the sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid is clear. Set aside to cool slightly.
6. When the cake is done, remove from the oven onto a cooling rack that has been placed on top of a large, foil-lined baking sheet and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake from the pan by running a knife around the edges between cake and pan. Turn the cake out of the pan, discard the parchment paper, and then place the cake upright on the cooling rack.
7. While the cake is still warm, poke holes in the cake and then pour the warm syrup all over the top, allowing it to seep into the loaf and run down the sides. Allow to cool completely. (At this point, you can serve the cake; the glaze is optional.)
8. Prepare the glaze by stirring the orange juice into the sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the glaze is smooth. The glaze should be thin enough to spoon or drizzle over the cake but just stiff enough that some of the glaze will cling to the sides.
9. Gently lift the cake off of the rack and onto a serving platter.