on orange trees and citrus cake
I often wish I lived someplace warmer.
Or more specifically, a place where orange trees grow.
I can imagine the scent of the blossoms in spring.
And the way walking
through a grove,
heavy with citrus, might feel.
But I’ve never actually been to a citrus farm.
I’ve never seen them picked
and processed and ready for market.
I haven’t seen rows and rows of orange fruit
or short grass between the trunks.
But it is something
I’ve always wanted to do.
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup cream cheese (5 ounces), room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Preheat oven to 350°. Coat loaf pan generously with nonstick spray; line bottom and long sides with parchment paper, leaving about 1 1/2-inch overhang. Coat paper with nonstick spray.
- Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside. Combine 1 1/4 cups sugar and all zest in another medium bowl; set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until blended and smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar mixture; beat on high speed until very light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. (Make sure mixture is completely incorporated so flour won't clump when added.) With mixer on low speed, gradually add dry ingredients; mix just to blend (do not overmix or cake will become tough). Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
- Bake cake until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed with your fingertips and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 60-70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved for lemon syrup.
- Using parchment-paper overhang as an aid, remove cake from pan; peel off and discard paper. Place cake top side up on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Using a skewer, pierce top of cake all over, inserting skewer about halfway through cake (this helps the lemon syrup to soak in).
- Using a pastry brush, baste with lemon syrup. Use all of syrup plus any that may have dripped onto baking sheet. Let cake cool completely.
- Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl; strain, if desired. Pour over cake. Scoop up any glaze that may have dripped into sheet and spread over top and sides of cake. Let cake stand at room tempera-ture until icing is set, about 30 minutes. DO AHEAD: Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
- Cut cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices.