To get the most flavor out of the grated zest in this recipe, you mix the zest and sugar together with your fingertips, rubbing the two ingredients together until the sugar is moist and grainy and the piquant aroma of citrus fills the kitchen. Do this once, and you’ll find yourself doing it often in other recipes. - Dorie Greenspan
Orange Cake recipe: Dorie Greenspan - Paris Sweets, adapted from Pâtisserie Arnaud Larher
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour (250 grams)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ⅔ cups sugar (335 grams)
- Grated zest of 3 lemons or 2 oranges
- 5 large eggs
- ⅔ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream (165 grams)
- 2 tablespoons dark rum (for the lemon cake) or Grand Marnier (for the orange cake) (30 grams)
- 7½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (3¾ ounces; 110 grams)
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch (22.5 x 12.5 x 7.5-cm) loaf pan, dust the interior with flour, and tap out the excess. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two stacked regular baking sheets and set aside.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and keep close at hand. Toss the sugar and zest together in a large bowl and rub them together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, beating until the mixture is pale and foamy, then whisk in the crème fraîche and rum. Switch to a large rubber spatula and gently stir the sifted flour mixture into the batter in three or four additions—the batter should be thick and smooth. Finally, fold in the cooled melted butter in two or three additions.
- Immediately spoon the batter into the pan and slide the baking sheet(s) into the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry and free of crumbs. (Check the cake at the 40-minute mark. If it is browning quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent for the remainder of the baking period.) Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack before turning it out of the pan; invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
- Keeping: Wrapped airtight, the cake will keep for 1 week at room temperature or up to 1 month in the freezer. Stale cake is delicious lightly toasted and spread with marmalade.
- An American in Paris: I’ve used this recipe to make a wonderful vanilla cake. I substitute the pulp of 2 plump, fragrant vanilla beans for the zest and rub the pulp into the sugar just as the zest is rubbed in. Keep the rum in the recipe—it’s lovely with the vanilla.
Update: I have made the lemon version of this cake, (which I will not blog about) but it wasn't as good as this orange cake. As much as I love rum, I did not like the rum flavor combined with lemons.