A Bit of January Catch-Up
Oh my goodness, I have absolutely no idea where the past two weeks went. They flew by and left me wading through a load of work, which I guess is to be expected at the beginning of the year. I used the long weekend for a bit of down time. The shivering temperatures outside provided the perfect excuse to tuck in, turn on my oven and do some cooking and baking. I've been dreaming up visions of a blood orange tea cake for the past few weeks and poof, I looked to one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen and adapted her base recipe. This is one cake/quick bread I'll be making for winters to come. The beauty of seasonal blood oranges (sparkling with vitamin C and antioxidants), the luscious accent of bergamot and floral tea, and the "good fat" health benefits of olive oil in the cake. Sound a bit odd to you? Try it for yourself...it'll be nibbled up in no time.
Blood Orange Tea Cake with Olive Oil and Almond Glaze
Serves :: 8 to 12 slices
butter for greasing
3 blood oranges
1 cup sugar
6 ounces of plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Candied Blood Orange Slices (optional)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons bergamot or Earl Grey tea
1/2 vanilla bean, split down the middle
1 blood orange, thinly sliced
1 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with butter.
Using a microplane, zest two oranges and set zest aside. Supreme (slice) zested oranges and the otehr remaining orange. To supreme an orange, cut the end off then trim off the rest of the rind and the pith. Using a paring knife, carefully cut in between the skins/membranes of the orange segments, sort of in a 'V' shape so that the segments are freed from the membranes. Roughly chop the segments and set aside.
Combine in a large mixing bowl - zest, sugar, yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract and olive oil. Gently fold in the oranges. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly work dry ingredients in the wet, stirring until well blended. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan.
Bake for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
For the candied orange slices, bring water, sugar, loose tea and vanilla to a low boil, stirring to ensure all sugar is dissolved. Add in orange slices and simmer for 20-25 minutes until reduced by nearly half. Place oranges on a piece of parchment paper to dry. Strain tea from liquid and reserve the infused simple syrup for other uses.
For the almond glaze, whisk together all ingredients. Add additional confectioner's sugar for a thicker glaze. Drizzle liberally over the tea cake. Place candied orange slices atop the cake and drizzle a bit of additional glaze.