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A Sweet Taste of Nostalgia: Sour Cream Orange Bundt Cake

February 11, 2011

I love things that are a bit old-fashioned. Old-fashioned things remind me of my Gran, who I miss very much. A good portion of my childhood was spent at my grandparent’s home in the country, wearing my boy cousin’s hand-me-downs and running around barefoot. I was either in the field planting, tending or harvesting something with Pa Bill or in the kitchen with Gran. She cooked three meals a day. Not just any meals. Stick-to-your-bones meals with lots of fresh vegetables cooked in butter, cornbread, biscuits, gravy and plenty of fried foods. Fried okra, chicken and pork chops were my favorites. And those gravies. Ummm. I still crave all of it.

Gran taught me to bake. She made a mean pound cake. Her old house was built (as many southern homes are) on a pier and beam foundation and was creaky, to say the least. She was serious about her cakes and would sternly instruct us young’uns to play outside while her cake was baking lest we create some movement in the house that would cause her cake to fall. She even posted a handwritten note on the screen door that said, “DO NOT SLAM DOOR OR SHAKE FLOOR! CAKE BAKING!” I wish I had one of those signs.

This year, my sister gave me a bundt pan for Christmas and I’ve been anxious to give it a go. Grandma in California sent us a case of oranges and we still had a good many left so something orangey sounded just right. I found this recipe and had all the other ingredients handy, so I set out to bake a cake.

Admittedly, this is not a simple recipe – it has a few extra steps like beating the egg whites and folding them into the batter and the syrup has to be cooked and reduced. But the steps are easy enough to follow and anyone who can read a recipe can pull it off. I was pleased with the end result and will make it again. Besides, it calls for orange zest, and who doesn’t enjoy a little zest?

I thought about Gran while making this cake. I thought about her old, drafty house and her oven that didn’t hold its temperature and baked unevenly. I am sure she would marvel at my kitchen with its fancy stove and stainless steel. Our home is built on a concrete foundation and I need not worry about a shaking floor or slamming door upsetting the rising of my cakes. There is no need to post a sign for my young’uns to let them know to take care. Besides, they are too small to read.

Maybe once they’re older I’ll put a sign up anyway, just for old times’ sake.

Sour Cream Orange Bundt Cake
Serves 16

4 oranges, sectioned
1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tbsp finely grated orange rind
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup orange-flavoured liqueur

Grease 10-cup (2.5 L) fancy or classic Bundt or tube pan; dust with flour. Set aside.

Cake: In large bowl, beat butter with 1 cup of the sugar until fluffy; beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Beat in orange rind and vanilla.

In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into butter mixture alternately with sour cream, making 3 additions of flour mixture and 2 of sour cream.

In separate bowl, beat egg whites, until frothy; beat in remaining sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Scrape into prepared pan; tap on counter and smooth top. Bake in centre of 325 F oven until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to rack.

Syrup: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice and liqueur to boil over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 7 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Brush half over warm cake. Let cool completely. (Make Ahead: Wrap in plastic wrap; store in airtight container for up to 24 hours or freeze for up to 1 month.)

Serve with remaining syrup, oranges and blueberries.

Canadian Living Holiday Baking, 2006. Recipe found here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 12, 2011 1:01 AM

    Mmmmm, your cake just shines with deliciousness. That sour cream sounds like a good way to make a moist cake and that orange flavor is just lovely. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog called “Sweets for a Saturday” and I’d like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link your cake up.

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