I love using citrus in baking, especially in cakes. It adds a beautiful, subtle flavor that can’t be beat. Most citrus is in season from autumn to spring which makes winter a perfect time to utilize all of those amazing citrus fruits. I use a lot of lemon and orange when making my bundt cakes. This time I wanted to try something different. While I was at the market, I noticed how beautiful the tangerine displays were. There is just something about the bright color of the fruit that is so nice during the long winter months (even in Pasadena). My husband was returning from a long business trip to China and was looking forward to a home cooked meal. I was planning an Italian dinner menu for the evening of his return, and I thought a tangerine cake served for dessert would be perfect. It is very light and not overly sweet. It has a refreshing quality to it and it could be eaten for breakfast the next day.
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- Grated zest of 1 1/2 tangerines (1 1/2 teaspoons)
- Grated zest of 1/2 lemon (1/4 teaspoon)
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/3 cup fresh tangerine juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 325℉, with rack in the middle position. Butter and flour a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar with the tangerine and lemon zests and mix well with your fingertips, rubbing the zest and sugar together until the mixture is uniform in color. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping the mixer to scrape the bowl halfway through. Scrape the bowl, then add the vanilla and mix to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the tangerine and lemon juices. Add the dry ingredients on low speed, 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until well combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour or until the top of the cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Peel off the parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and juices and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Brush the bottom of the cake several times with the glaze, then turn right side up and glaze the top and sides. Let the glaze set for at least 30 minutes before slicing the cake.
This cake is so versatile. I incorporated it into my Italian dinner menu and it was perfect. Although it is a cake, it feels very light at the end of a heavy meal. It is great on its own, served as breakfast, or when served with a vanilla gelato.
This recipe was from the cookbook Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian. It’s a collection of Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephen’s recipes from their two restaurants. I was drawn to it because the recipes have an overall theme – use the best, fresh ingredients you can find and afford and even the simplest of recipes will turn out amazing. This Tangerine Cake is a perfect example of that philosophy that I try to bring to all recipes I try, whether they are mine or someone else’s.
I hope you try this cake. It is a perfect cake that can be used for a number of occasions. Enjoy!