Orange Nut Bread
This recipe is adapted from an old Williams-Sonoma book called “Muffins.” (The book has several recipes for quick breads in addition to the muffins.) It is by far my favorite recipe in the book and I make it a lot, often by request. In fact, this is a dern good cake. And did I mention that it’s easy? One bowl, ladies and gentlemen, one bowl. Need I say more?
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbs. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Grated zest of 1 orange*
- 3/4 cup (3 oz.) walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup (2 oz. or half a stick) unsalted butter, melted**
- 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
1) Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.
2) In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest. Add the nuts and stir until evenly distributed. Make a well in the center and add the melted butter, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Stir until smooth. (Do not over mix.) Spoon the batter into the baking pan.
3) Bake until the top is browned and firm and the loaf begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 50-60 minutes. A toothpick in the center should come out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then unmold the loaf onto the rack to cool completely. This cake tastes better the day after it is made.
* Zesting the orange is what takes the most “work” in this recipe; it is best done with a microplane. I once used tangerines instead, for both the zest and the juice. I thought it would taste about the same, but the tangerines gave the loaf a much brighter flavor. Use the zest of two tangerines in place of one orange. Needless to say, freshly squeezed OJ tastes better than any other kind, but I’ve used the other kind and it was still a mighty good cake. Fresh tangerine juice is an absolute wonder in this cake, but you need about a gazillion of them to make 3/4 cup of juice. Just sayin’.
** If a baking recipe calls for butter, the only time I might use vegetable oil instead is if the recipe calls for melted butter. That way, I’m using one liquid in place of another. If the recipe calls for room temperature butter (which is usually creamed with the sugar, to give a particular consistency to the batter), then I will never use a liquid in place of the solid. Which is a very long way of saying that I often use oil instead of melted butter in this recipe. It makes it lactose-free (and pareve, which is what I was really after), and I discovered that this cake actually tastes better made with oil.
“A waist is a terrible thing to mind.” –Chana
Prep Time: 1.5 hours