Orange Coffee Cake with Chocolate Streusel

orangeccOrange and chocolate are great friends. Both grow in tropical climates, and as always, I marvel at the creativity of the individual who once thought, “hmm, I like chocolate, and I like oranges…I wonder what would happen it I paired chocolate and orange together?” Brilliance, that’s what.

I adapted the recipe for this coffee cake from one in the Better Homes & Gardens Baking book, using orange zest instead of chopped peel and milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.

The great thing is that once you zest your orange, you can use the juice from it in this recipe as well. You could probably do without the pecans if you wanted to, but they add a nice crunchy texture.

Ingredients

For the chocolate streusel

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the orange coffee cake

  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • 12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Add butter and rub in with your hands until the mixture has a texture like coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Mix well, using your fingers to distribute the zest as evenly as you can.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add sour cream, milk, orange juice, and vanilla and beat until well-combined.

Add flour mixture in several batches, beating until combined as you go. Continue beating for about 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth.

Pour half of the batter into your prepared pan. Top with half the streusel mixture and use the back of a spoon to gently press the streusel into the batter. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

This cake can be served warm, or at room temperature.

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Orange Almond Cake (gluten-free!)

orange almond cakeWhat exactly is gluten? In simple terms, it is a protein present in wheat, which provides stability to breads, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. Gluten-free baking relies on other ingredients that can bind together and provide structure, ranging from eggs and nut flours to thickeners like xantham gum.

As a savvy baker, I understand that gluten-free recipes can bring about a number of challenges, and I’ve been sorely disappointed by nut-based, high-egg-volume cake recipes in the past. I baked this as a trial run for our seder, which will take place on the first night of Passover in just a couple of weeks. The recipe came from a food blogger in Australia, hence the use of grams below. The preparation is fascinating, as I think you may agree once you read the directions. I’m happy to say that it turned out very well; my plan for the seder is to add some slices almonds to the top, which will brown nicely during baking.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium oranges
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 250 grams sugar, processed to super-fine consistency*
  • 250 grams almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

*To make regular sugar super-fine, place it in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times until you get a consistency like sand.

Preparation

Wash the oranges well. Place them in a large cooking pot with plenty of water and bring them to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and simmer for 2 hours, checking frequently. Remove oranges from the water and allow to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment, extending the paper over the sides.

Remove the ends of the oranges, which can be bitter, and place the oranges, skin and all, into a food processor. Pulse to a smooth consistency.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together very well. Add orange puree and whisk together.

Add almond meal and baking powder, stirring with a wooden spoon to blend completely.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake; the sides and bottom of the cake will darken considerably and you do not want them to burn.

Remove from oven and cool in pan for about 10 minutes; remove the cake from the pan, leaving it in the parchment, and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. Remove parchment; store at room temperature.

Note: this cake is very moist, and according to the original recipe it becomes even more so after a few days. Be sure to store in an airtight container.