The UnProfessional Chef

A girl's commentary on food, cooking and all things delicious!

Location: Singapore

A closet food critic and wannabe chef who loves the art of cooking and enjoying great cuisine in the company of great friends!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Self Help Remedy

Cranberry Orange Cake

I am a huge fan of the gorgeous cakes and bread from Cedele Depot, a chain of bakeries that have sprouted up around the island. I for one am pleased at its success. It churns out a plethora of tasty, homey cakes, scones, muffins, brioche and bread, all of consistently high quality, and in some cases, even healthy (for e.g. some of its breads contain no eggs or use only wholegrain). I am addicted in particular to its simple loaf cakes like Almond Sugee, Vanilla Sand, and Cranberry Orange (my absolute favourite!).

Seeing as this has resulted in becoming a very expensive addiction indeed, especially since I have a tendency to buy a variety of individual slices (after all, a business needs to be profitable to stay afloat), I decided to remedy the situation by figuring out how to make my own version of the Cranberry Orange loaf.

I thought that the beautifully described Orange Cake from Paris Sweets which the author, Dorie Greenspan, had adapted from the version at Pâtisserie Arnaud Larher (a famous pâtisserie in Montmarte in Paris) would work wonderfully. I was particularly tempted by the intriguing instructions to rub the sugar and orange zest with the fingertips. To turn it into a Cranberry Orange loaf, I merely tossed a couple of dried cranberries into the finished batter before baking. It turned out fantastic. I had an especially good premonition about the result while I was rubbing the sugar and orange zest together. The process filled the entire kitchen with a fresh sweet orangey aroma. I just knew something delicious would come out of anything that contained this special blend orange sugar. Apparently it works just as well with lemon zest and vanilla too, so this is one trick that is going into my standard repertoire of baking methods. The moist 'ambro-sugar' was whipped with eggs, crème fraîche, and a touch of Grand Marnier before gently incorporated with the sifted flour, double acting baking powder and salt. In a highly unusual method (to me at least, I’ve only ever creamed butter and sugar at the start of the process!), the butter was only mixed in last, after having been melted and left to cool.

While the cakes were baking and tanning nicely in the oven in their loaf pan sun beds, I decided that it would be far too much of a waste to toss out the oranges that were now bereft of their zest and looking much like sad shorn sheep. I used about one orange’s worth of juice mixed with enough icing sugar to turn it into a dense orange topping. (I sliced and ate the other orange for my requisite daily supply of Vitamin C).

Et voilà, the loaves were simply finished by spreading the icing over them after they’d been left to cool and topped with the extra dried cranberries that added a glorious spot of colour to the end product. I’m pleased to say, the good feeling about the cakes was fulfilled – a freshly-cut slice was gorgeously moist, flavoured refreshingly with the orange zest and given a nice bite by the plump cranberries.


Blogger eatzycath said...

that cake-loaf looks absolutely delicious, and thanks for sharing that great tip with the orange-sugar.

12:01 AM  
Blogger J said...

hiya! had lunch with l.s. the other day and finally figured out a few things ;) that looks divine; am sure it tastes as good as (if not better than) the cedele cake...

1:59 AM  
Blogger The UnProfessional Chef said...

Hi eatzycath
You're welcome - It seems to make everything more fragrant indeed!

hi j
Ha, I have been exposed! :) All the rest, xiu, shauna etc have been reading your blog avidly too and getting very hungry. Met W's cousin over the weekend too who shared the secret behind your blogspot web address :)

12:35 PM  

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