Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Orange Cranberry Loaf

As a kid, I never really had the opportunity to eat oranges because my father hated them. My initial hate affair with oranges began when I was subjected to bioterrorism by my cousin. She used to take the orange segments and squeeze it in front of my eyes, such that it unleashed a spray that wreaked havoc in my eyes. But like so many things that we used to hate as children and ended up loving them once we grew up, I eventually came to love oranges.

As far as baking with oranges goes, the flavor really lies in the peel/zest rather than the juice. That's because of certain oils and alcohols with intense aroma and certain glucosides that contribute to its bitterness. The idea behind this loaf/cake is to get a very intense orange flavor and complement it with something that goes well with it.

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Cranberries and oranges are a popular combination. They're often used in breads, muffins, scones...even cookies! But I chose them because they are commonly used during thanksgiving and I was planning to take this to a friend's place during the Thanksgiving weekend.

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Here's the recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tbsp/4 oz) butter, at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
juice and peel from two oranges
2/3 cup sugar*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)

* the amount of sugar really depends on how sweet the juice from the orange is. Please adjust accordingly.

1) Keep the juice from the oranges separately. With a knife, remove the pith from the peel as much as you can. Using a peeler to peel the oranges works great for us.

2) Simmer the peels into a saucepan with 1 c water and the sugar. Make sure that the peels are fully submerged in water. Simmer until the liquid reduces and the peels become really soft, about 10 mins or so. Remove from the stove.

3) Strain the liquid 'syrup' and let it cool. Once the peels have cooled down, chop them into tiny bits. Add the orange juice to the syrup once it has cooled down. The total liquid should come to 1-1 1/4 cups. Which is why I recommend adding the orange juice into the mixture after the syrup is done. You could always drink the excess juice. The syrup....not so good for you ;)
4) Preheat the oven to 350 F.

5) Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) into a bowl. Add the cranberries and toss them just a little.

6) In a larger bowl, cream the butter with an electric beater for 3-4 mins. Add 1 egg at a time and beat for a good 2-3 mins. The mixture may look and be curdled. That is fine!

7) Add the dry and wet components alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. after each addition, fold gently with a spatula until you stop seeing 'dry' lumps of flour.

8) Pour the batter immediately into a 9X5 greased loaf pan

9) Bake in the middle rack for ~35 mins. or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Do not open the oven door until you see the top start to crack. In case your oven doesn't have a light, you can forget about it for at least 25 mins.

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We personally loved this cake. It certainly had the intense orange flavor that N was looking for
and small bites of orange peel that I was looking for. The cranberries proved to be a good addition too. They were well distributed throughout the loaf so apparently the 'coating with the flour' trick worked in this case. You could further 'enrich' the cake with some orange-sugar icing or even serve it with some whipped cream or orange scented whipped cream.
Thanksgiving...its supposed to be about sharing; another thing I used to hate as a kind but have grown fond of now ;)
P.S. - Something's wrong with Blogger and its taken us hours to post this recipe and format it! Any clue what?

33 comments:

Arch said...

Lovely, soft and delicious looking - the orange must taste so great in this - but the peels dont make it bitter ? I am so worried about using peels because of this this...No oranges in season now, but will make when it is...

Nags said...

The first pic is brilliant. I guess your new house agrees with your pics :) the cooking of the orange peels sounds fantastic and I am really looking forward to trying this!

Priya said...

Gorgeous click, can guess how this cake would have tasted...yummy!!

Prathibha said...

Just loved the look of this bread..Even I made similar to this and will be posting soon..

SJ said...

dnt like craisin, add cho. chips n make for me. thanks

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Delicious! Cranberry and orange are a great combination!

Laavanya said...

Orange & Cranberries are a wonderful combination. I bought the orange flavored craisins and Love them - reminds me of Mirinda.

Jaya Wagle said...

Orange bioterrorism! LOL. We all did it but never thought of using that term for it. Jokes aside, I have always loved oranges till I got pregnant and started getting acidity after drinking orange juice.
But my love affair with oranges started again when I found out how delicious it tastes in cakes and cupcakes.
Love your orange cranberry loaf.
Reminds me of a corn flour orange cake I make.

Cham said...

Orange bread is one my try list ! I adore citrus flavor! The first pic is a killer!
Blogger is weird past one week... My fonts and pic all mess up -comments moder problem...They change many stuffs which doesn't work efficently!

Amanda said...

I've bookmarked this, would love to try with frozen cranberries :)

Indhu said...

love anything citrus... can you believe I am postponing making anything with orange/lemon till I buy a microplane zester? I don't know why I do these things... love the first picture... a must try recipe :)

thanks for the mail on ramekin baking guys :) I tried a souffle ... I moved to a new house and the oven sucks :( . The dish came out unbaked after 1 hour... will need to figure out this oven and will continue with the ramekin experiments :)

Cardamom said...

My mouth usually puckers up like a fish at the mention of cranberries and oranges-together....but, you make this look G.O.O.D. so I can't help but wipe that pucker off my face and to stuff it with this cake.I bet it would be good with a hot cup of strong coffee....!

I've missed coming here, will catch up with your posts.

cheers,trupti
the spice who loved me

shahana said...

looks yumm!!!nice click too

RV said...

I love the texture of the cake, it looks spongy. I have been loving orange ever since I have known. Rather it is my favorite fruit too.. It seems like a perfect evening snack with the tea I am currently slurping.. :)

Phoo-D said...

What a beautiful moist cake! I love orange flavored baked goods and this looks incredible.

Elle said...

What a moist and delicious loaf! I love cranberry and oranges together, so this looks like one to make soon. Thanks!

A_and_N said...

@ Arch: Good question. I took care to remove the pith as much as possible before putting the peels into water. I used a thin knife to get the white pith off from the orange peels.

@ Nags: Thanks! Credit solely goes to N!

@ Priya: Thanks :)

@ Prathibha: Looking forward to it.

@ SJ: Houdhu maydam :)

@ Natashya: They are, aren't they? :)

@ Laavanya: Now that is a neat comparison. I frew up with Gold Spot though ;)

@ Jaya: Thanks. I'll check out your corn flour cake too!

@ Cham: Thanks. As mentioned above, all the credit for the pic goes to N. I think blogger is working alright now. Hopefully it doesn't act up anymore!

@ Amanda: Thanks a bunch! I hope it comes out great!

@ Indhu: microplane zester? fancy, fancy! Sorry to hear about the new oven! I hope you can get it fixed and resume your baking adventures soon :)

@ Cardamom: Thanks! glad to be of help :) Orange in cakes rocks!

@ Shahana: Thanks.

@ RV: They're great for breakfast and right after dinner too ;)

@ Phoo-D: Thank you very much.

@ Elle: Thanks! Do let us know how it comes out.

Vaishali said...

Love how tender that loaf looks. I am a huge fan of orange in breads and cakes.

Usha said...

I absolutely adore the combination of orange and cranberry, this bread just went to the top of the list of breads I want to try soon!

Ingrid said...

Mmmmm, that looks delightful! I love citrus. I'm thinking hard about that orange scented whipped cream!

How come that "flour" trick doesn't work for me? My berries always sink!
~ingrid

Maria said...

I love this loaf! I need to make it and soon!

Red Chillies said...

I enjoy orange flavored desserts the most maybe because I love oranges :-) The combination of orange and cranberries is new to me though.
Peel of oranges eh? never tried that before.

delhibelle said...

beautiful colour, esp the first one..orange in desserts is always fresh and fragrant..love it

mangocheeks said...

Looks mosit and flavoursome. I would like a piece now, but I guess it is all gone...

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PJ said...

orange in baking is my favorite! This bread looks delicious and so is your writeup :) I remember my sister squeezing orange skin in my eyes too.. :)

s said...

the texture looks marvelous..and so moist

Ann said...

Yum, the cake looks divine. What an original idea to sue the peels! I love any citrus flavoured baked good, and the addition of cranberries makes this even better.

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Soma said...

Beautiful refreshing flavors here. I love orange in breads and cakes esp. the peels. Nice idea to cook them.

arundati said...

looks awesome!! i am adding you to my reader!!

kusublakki said...

Tried this out last night and it's simply delicious :) Love the taste of the oranges! So fresh and yummy!

Manju said...

I tried this cake last week. The kitchen smelt heavenly and the cake turned out absolutely awesome! Thanks for a great recipe!