Thursday, January 12, 2012

Orange tea cake with boozy raisins

Every evening I crave something sweet with my tea and a dressed up pound cake is my go to snack. There are a couple of variations of pound cakes in my post Trio of tea cakes. This version has raisins soaked in orange liquor inspired by David Lebovitz's Chocolate cherry fruitcake, which I had made for Thanksgiving last year.

This cake requires a little bit of planning since the raisins need to be soaked the night before so that they can absorb the alcohol and become plump and juicy. Of course the longer you soak the dried fruit the tastier they will be. I also added some orange oil to carry through the orange flavor, but you could substitute orange zest if you didn't have the oil. Also, if you are not into alcohol, you could soak the raisins in orange juice as well.

Orange Tea cake with cointreau soaked raisins

1/3 cup Thomson seedless raisins
3 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier
½ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature (not jumbo or extra large)
8 tablespoons or 4 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour (I use King Arthur brand flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla essence
¼ teaspoon orange oil or grated zest of one orange

1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter a 1 lb loaf pan (8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 3/4" high) with parchment paper.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder.

3. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar at high speed till it is light and fluffy. The butter and sugar mixture will begin to turn white and will not be grainy.

4. Add the eggs one at a time and beat till each is incorporated. Add the vanilla essence, any cointreau or orange juice that has not been absorbed by the raisins and the orange oil or orange zest and beat till just mixed.

5. Add the flour mixture keeping the mixer on low till it is just incorporated. Mix in the raisins using a spatula.
6. Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan and place in the center rack of the pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The timing will depend on the type of pan that you are using and your oven. Check after 30 minutes – if a wooden skewer comes out clean, the cake is ready.

7. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and move to the cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes a 1 lb cake

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