Happy Memorial Day to all! Hopefully, you have a day off today and will be able to do some fun things! Many are planning to cook outdoors or just rest and relax most of today. This would also be a good day to bake, since there is more free time to enjoy doing it.
Since Memorial Day signifies the beginning of the summer season (though it doesn’t officially begin until June 21), let’s bake something that is refreshingly different: “French Orange Cake”. This is an unusual cake that is one layer and is topped with an apricot glaze. It’s a light and flavorful cake and one you won’t have to feel very guilty about eating. The cake has no added fat to it and the topping contains apricot jam, so there’s no overly-sweet or rich icing to go on it.
Unlike American cakes, French cakes are short, just as this one is. French cakes are typically single layers with a simple icing on it. Most often, the cake is soft in the center, which is especially true of French chocolate cakes. This recipe isn’t complicated to make and you’ll likely have most of the ingredients on hand to make it.
The eggs are separated and the whites beaten until stiff. The egg yolks and sugar are beaten until they form a “ribbon”, or the mixture sheets off the beaters. The dry ingredients are added with orange juice and orange zest, along with the beaten egg whites. It then goes into a 9-inch layer pan and baked. While it bakes, the topping of apricot jam, butter, and orange liqueur is made. Once the cake has baked and has cooled slightly, the topping goes over the cake. If you would like to remove the cake from the pan, you could, though I leave it in the pan. It’s a beautiful cake with a refreshing orange flavor.
While on the subject of French food, I shared a recipe sometime ago for a “French Apple Pie”, which is also beautiful and good-tasting, too. Here’s the link to it:
Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday and if you don’t have plans today, head to the kitchen and put together this French treat!
FRENCH ORANGE CAKE
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup sugar
- grated zest of one orange (the colored portion of the orange)
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- a pinch of salt
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 jar apricot jam or preserves
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch layer cake pan. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and beat with the sugar until smooth and mixture falls from the beaters in a drizzle or a “ribbon”. Add the orange rind, orange juice and flour to the yolk mixture and mix until smooth. Add the salt to the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the whites into the orange batter. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the center tests done. While cake is baking prepare the apricot glaze by heating the apricot jam with the butter in a small saucepan until butter melts. Remove from heat and add the orange liqueur. When cake has cooled, carefully pour the glaze over the top of the cake. Serve cool, but not cold. Yield: 8 servings.