I’m doing all I can to encourage Spring: drinking Rosé, wearing a bright pink lip; and baking a citrus Bundt cake. Orange and lemon are quintessential Spring flavours that just taste like blue skies and sunshine.
The recipe, Fragrant Orange & Lemon Cake /Torta di Arancio e Limone comes from a recent thrift store find: Trattoria, by Patricia Wells. Published in 1993, the book is sub-titled, Healthy, Simple, Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy. It’s filled with the classics of Italian cuisine that you want to eat, but that don’t take all day to make.
The delicious citrus cake was created by a chef in a tiny hamlet in Tuscany.
I can summarise this cake in one word: Luscious. Seriously, I think it is one the very best cakes I’ve ever eaten! It’s moist but not too sweet, so it’s the kind of thing you can top with Greek yogurt for breakfast, serve with tea or a latte in the afternoon, and with whipped cream and berries for dessert.
I might not have tried this recipe had I not just bought a new Bundt cake pan. It’s one of those kitchen items you don’t exactly need, but once you see it, you have to have. And once you have it, you want to use it all the time. So lately all my cakes are round and distinctively fluted.
Designed by Sophie Conran, the mold is made of porcelain with her signature swirl pattern. It’s modern, beautiful, and happily, unlike its metal counterpart, it’s a breeze to remove the cake, and easy to clean. It is dishwasher safe, and can even go in the freezer. The rock hard translucent glaze makes it strong, hard wearing, and much more chip resistant. Both practical and beautiful, you could serve the cake right in the pan; it looks that pretty.
It comes in a lovely box; so it makes the perfect gift. Or a treat for yourself.
It also goes very nicely with the Sophie Conran for Portmeirion white tea cups
and coffee mugs I’ve newly acquired.
This recipe, from its origins in the Italian countryside to my kitchen at the Canadian ocean-side, I now pass on to wherever you are in the world; because this is a cake you’ll want in your repertoire. It’s a keeper.
Fragrant Orange and Lemon Cake
Torta di Arancio e Limone
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup whole milk
16 tablespoons, or 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Evenly coat the interior of a 10″ (12 cup; 2.5l) Bundt pan with butter. Dust lightly with flour, shaking out the excess flour. Set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the orange and lemon zests.
Combine the milk, orange and lemon juice. Stir and set aside to “sour.”
Place the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl.Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about two minutes.Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
Add the flour and milk mixtures alternating in thirds, beating just until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake 45-55 minutes A toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
PATRICA WELLS, website
SOPHIE CONRAN: website
POST SCRIPT: Naturally, one thing leads to another. Like this citrus juicer by Sophie Conran. How perfect!
Ordered from The Bay online here