Whole Orange-Poppy Seed Cake 12.000

James M. Thresher -- The Washington Post

Flour Girl Sep 24, 2009

This is a variation on a perennial favorite: lemon and poppy seed tea cake. The inclusion of a whole orange lends complexity and intense moisture.

Make Ahead: Wrap well and store at room temperature for 2 days, or wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days. The cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap then aluminum foil and frozen for up to 3 weeks; defrost (wrapped) at room temperature.

Servings: 12

Yield: Makes one 9-inch loaf

  • For the cake
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the loaf pan
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for the loaf pan
  • 1 medium Valencia or navel orange, washed well (do not use a juice orange)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • For the glaze
  • Juice of 1/2 orange (2 tablespoons)
  • Juice from 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar


For the cake: Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Use butter to lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, then dust with flour, shaking out any excess (or spray with bakers' spray).

Use a sharp knife to de-stem the orange, then cut the fruit (skin-on) into 8 equal sections. Place them in the bowl of a food processor, along with 1/2 cup of the sugar. Puree until fairly smooth; stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Whisk together the eggs and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, until smooth, then add the orange pulp mixture and melted butter; whisk to combine.

Whisk together the 1 1/2 cups of flour, the baking powder, salt and poppy seeds in a separate bowl; sprinkle over the orange mixture and use a flexible spatula to fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan; bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack (in the pan) and cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Place the cake on the rack for glazing; set a rimmed baking sheet or large plate directly under cake on the rack.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze: Combine the citrus juices and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. After the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by half. Remove from the heat.

Use a pastry brush to spread the glaze all over the warm cake. Cool the cake completely before slicing or storing.

VARIATION: Use 1 1/2 lemons instead of the whole orange and an additional 2 tablespoons sugar in the batter. For a lemon glaze: Combine 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice with 1/4 cup sugar; cook as directed above.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Sweet Melissa Baking Book," by Melissa Murphy (Viking Studio, 2008).

Tested by Leigh Lambert.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.