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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Orange-Vanilla Bean Tea Cake

The goal of these little tea cakes was simple - I wanted a sweet snack to pick at this weekend. You know, something that sits on the kitchen table and gets a little nibble every time you pass by - something that is enjoyed piece by piece for breakfast, with your lazy afternoon tea, for dessert and vanishes by Monday morning.

Well, I just gobbled up another piece for Sunday breakfast so rest assured the goal has been accomplished. These cakes were inspired by a recipe in the Martha Stewart Living November issue - I swapped and replaced a few things so I wouldn't have to be rolled to work on Monday due to a cream / sugar coma.

Orange-Vanilla Bean Tea Cake:
3 oranges (or any citrus: grapefruit, clementines, tangerines...)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder *why aluminum free?1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups raw turbinado sugar
2 vanilla beans, split & scraped, pod reserved for another use
2 farm fresh eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 5-by-9 inch loaf pan (or 2 smaller loaves as I did). Zest 2 oranges to yield approximately 1 tablespoon zest. Juice 2 oranges to yield 3/4 cup juice. Cut pith and skin from remaining orange and slice fruit along membranes to release segments into a bowl; discard membranes and any seeds. With your fingers, break each segment into 2.

2. Combine 1/4 cup orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.

3. Beat zest, butter, 1 cup sugar, and the vanilla seeds with a mixer on medium speed until combined. With machine running, add eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low, and beat flour mixture into butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

4. Fold orange segments into mixture, and pour into pan. Gently smooth top using a spatula.

5. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes for a large loaf (about 40 to 50 minutes for smaller). Meanwhile, bring remaining 1/2 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 3 minutes.

6. Remove tea cake from oven, poke top all over with a skewer, and brush with half the orange syrup. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool for 15 minutes. Invert pan to remove cake (this cake is moist and delicate so be careful inverting the pan). Let cool completely on wire rack, top side up.

7. Brush remaining orange syrup onto sides and again on top of cake. (Cake can be stored, wrapped, at room temperature overnight or refrigerated for up to 5 days.)


  1. This sounds extremely delicious... i am severly allergic to eggs.. is it possible to make this without eggs? Please help. Thnx in advance

  2. Good Morning!
    Great question, You can replace 1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water for every egg... it makes a goopy egg-like texture, but it's hard to say if it would definitely work. Also, Whole Foods sells toooooons of "egg replacers" in their baking isle too.
    Good luck!

  3. With pieces of orange rind in the cake and a dense, sweet frosting atop, this cupcake was a delight.


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