Orange Black Pepper Pound Cake

February 28, 2013

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When I was young, my dad was always in charge of weekend breakfasts.  He never really cooked anything – just added his own little touches to store-bought specialties that we never ate on weekday (mom-made) breakfasts.  Mini chocolate-chocolate-chip  muffins with more chocolate chips melted on top!  Canned biscuits baked with an extra pad of butter!  I see now that he may have let us indulge a bit.  But without fail, every weekend morning, we would have a tall glass of orange juice waiting for us.  My dad’s twist?  He would always mix in a little salt, a little sugar, and a touch of black pepper.

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It was actually incredibly tasty!  It was this sweet and tangy and savory drink, with a spicy kick.  Which we all loved.  Because we are Indian, after all.  No matter what he found as his inspiration at the grocery store, the glass of OJ always made the cut for our weekend breakfasts.

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These days, the only citrus I get from my parents is a box of sweet, honeybell oranges every February.  When I do remind my dad about the things he used to make when we were younger, he gets a little pouty saying that those days are long gone, and we are too old and grown-up now.  He also reminds me that I can now very well mix my own spices.  What?!  As you may have guessed, this doesn’t sit well with me.  I want my juice, goshdarnit!  And I want my dad to make it for me!!

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I think that the fair conclusion is that my dad has overestimated my maturity.  But still, this cake is in honor of the juice I used to have.  And maybe a little nudge to my dad’s nostalgic side to make it again for me when I come home next.  Maybe?

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Orange Black Pepper Pound Cake (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)

A couple things: the original recipe called for no black pepper, of course, but instead, a dark chocolate glaze on top.  I obviously love the orange chocolate combo and highly recommend it.  But this orange black pepper combo is quite nice and tasty.  And because it’s an olive oil cake, I think the black pepper adds a very lovely depth that you can’t get with the chocolate.  Also, I made this with a blood orange olive oil that was gifted to me, and it worked beautifully.  But the orange flavor is very pronounced even without the flavored olive oil – just make sure it is a good quality.  Lastly, I forgot to add the baking powder.  It didn’t even slip my mind – I kept thinking that it was so strange that this recipe didn’t call for baking powder.  And then continued to overlook it in the recipe.  But hey!  It didn’t really make a difference!  I would encourage you adding it, though.

For the cake:

  • two oranges, zested
  • 1 cup, sugar
  • juice of two oranges – about 3/4 cup juice
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
For the glaze:
  • juice of 1 orange – 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 – Grease a standard size loaf pan.
  2. With a fork, mash the zest into the sugar until fragrant.
  3. Add the yogurt, juice, and olive oil.  Whisk to combine.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a a time, and the oil and whisk again until everything is combined.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth.
  6. Pour into the load tin and bake for an hour, or until golden brown on top, and cake springs back to the touch.
  7. While the cake is baking, mix together the juice, sugar, salt and black pepper for the glaze. Set aside until needed.
  8. When the cake is ready, take it out the oven but leave it in the pan. Let it cool slightly, about 10 mintues.  Make a few holes in the cake with a fork and pour over the glaze.  It will look like it’s not soaking in, but it will as it cools.
  9. Let the cake cool completely before slicing.
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