skip to Main Content
Menu

Orange Chiffon Cake

Mother’s Day is coming up soon and I can’t think of a nicer treat to bake and decorate for your mamma (or for yourself) than this fluffy orange chiffon cake. This cake makes me think of my own mother, who used to bake angel food and chiffon cakes when I was a little girl (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). By the way, if you’re wondering if a chiffon cake is the same as a sponge cake, it’s related, but not the same. Sponge cakes have lots of separated and beaten eggs, as do chiffon cakes, but no added fat or baking powder, while chiffon cakes do contain both oil and a leavening agent. I haven’t made a chiffon cake in decades, but I pulled out my ancient tube pan for this and it was well worth it. The cake was light and with a soft texture that provides a perfect foil for the glaze and pressed flower decoration. You can choose to simply dust the cake with powdered sugar, but the orange glaze really adds a pretty finishing touch. I picked edible flowers and leaves for the decoration – pansies, lemon balm leaves and the flowers of wild winter cress — and pressed them for a couple of days until they were dried and flattened. You could use fresh flowers or omit them entirely. If you do use fresh flowers, do an internet search to make sure they’re edible, since so many have toxic qualities (like buttercups).

The preparation takes a bit of time, but if you follow the directions carefully, you’ll have no trouble. I found a lot of recipes for chiffon cakes online, and ultimately culled what I thought to be the best of a few recipes, cutting out some of the excess sugar and adding a bit of orange blossom water I had bought in Italy a few years ago to give it a little extra orange umph.

Make sure you DO NOT grease the pan. This is to allow the cake batter to grip the sides of the pan and allow for a higher rise. I did place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom portion of the cake and it allowed for an easy release.

This is how it looked as it came from the oven.

You need to immediately flip it over onto something like an inverted funnel to let it cool upside down. Otherwise, the cake might sink in the center.

After it is completely cooled, run a long knife around the sides and along the inner tube of the cake, then flip it onto a rack, releasing the metal piece and removing the parchment paper from the base.

I poured the glaze over the top and spread it on the sides. As you can see, the sides are quite bumpy, but if you let the glaze dry slightly (an hour or two should do it), you can spread another layer of glaze on the sides to get a smoother look. Or you could just pour the glaze on the top and let it fall down in large “drips” on the side, another way to get a decorative look.

But since I wanted to use the dried flowers on the sides, I added the second layer of glaze. It’s not as smooth as glass, but much smoother than just leaving the one layer of glaze (and it sure tastes good.)

Decorate with the pressed, dried flowers.

You don’t even have to use pressed flowers. You could just choose freshly picked, unpressed flowers instead.

The cake serves a lot of people, so if you’re not having a crowd anytime soon (and who is, in this Covid-19 environment?),spread a bit of good cheer and leave some at your neighbors’ or friends’ front porch. Happy Mother’s Day!

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.)

Orange Chiffon Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 2¼ cups cake flour
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon orange flower water
  • 8 large egg whites
  • FOR THE GLAZE:
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice (or more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • edible flowers
Instructions
  1. FOR THE CAKE:
  2. Sift together the flour, ¾ cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and the salt.
  3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are foamy, then add the cream of tartar and beat the whites until they hold stiff peaks.
  4. Add the remaining ½ cup sugar, a little at a time, and beat the whites until they hold stiff glossy peaks.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, the egg yolks, the orange juice, the zest, the orange blossom water and the vanilla.
  6. Whisk the mixture into the flour mixture, mixing until the batter is smooth.
  7. Stir one third of the whites into the batter to lighten it and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
  8. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of an ungreased 10-inch angel food pan, with a removable bottom.
  9. Spoon the batter into the pan and bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 325°F. oven for 1 hour, and five to ten minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Invert the pan immediately onto a funnel and let it cool completely.
  11. Run a long thin knife around the outer and inner tube edges of the pan and turn the cake out of the pan onto a cake rack.
  12. Remove the parchment paper.
  13. FOR THE GLAZE:
  14. Mix the confectioner's sugar with the orange juice until smooth, glossy and thick.
  15. Pour the glaze over the top of cake and spread over the sides as a first layer.
  16. Let the glaze dry, at least an hour or two, and spread a second layer of glaze over the sides to smooth out the first layer.
  17. Decorate with pressed, dried edible flowers.
 

 

 

Barley, Pomegranate and Orange Salad

While searching for a recipe to serve at my recent book group dinner, where the book was set in Israel, I naturally thought of  Yotam Ottolenghi, the pre-eminent Israeli chef whose cookbooks (and restaurants in London) are a treasure trove of Middle Eastern cooking.  I was surprised to find a salad using bulgur, since I associated the grain mostly with soups. Since pomegranates are a favorite of mine, the recipe was calling my name. Although not included in Ottolenghi’s recipe, I felt the urge to add the oranges — both blood oranges and cara cara oranges — since they were in season and added more color and flavor. The celery leaves are crucial in this recipe, and unfortunately most celery in supermarkets has scant leaves. If you’re lucky enough to find a locally grown bunch of celery, you’ll more likely to find leaves on the ends of the stalks. But even with the supermarket celery, I managed to pluck enough leaves to add to the recipe. This salad is delicious even several days after making it, so keep it in mind for a do-ahead recipe to take to a party.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.)

Barley Salad
 
Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's book "Plenty"
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 6 celery stalks (leaves picked and reserved), cut into dice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • ⅔ teaspoon ground allspice
  • salt, black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • sections from 2 oranges (I used one cara cara and one blood orange)
Instructions
  1. Cook the barley according to package directions.
  2. Usually, it is simply placed in a pot and covered with water, then boiled for about 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the barley and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the celery, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, allspice and salt and pepper.
  5. Stir, then leave to cool completely.
  6. When it's cool, add the herbs, celery leaves, pomegranate seeds and orange sections.
  7. Squeeze the juice from the remaining pulpy part of the orange that's left into the bowl and mix.
  8. Serve.
 

Halibut with oranges and salsa verde

In an effort to eat more low calorie foods and lose some weight before dress shopping for my daughter’s wedding, I have been trying to cut back on the pizza, pasta and pastries and focus on fish, fruit and flavors. (I am constantly sabotaging myself and Superbowl Sunday party foods didn’t help.) Since it’s citrus season, and I can’t seem to get enough of those luscious cara cara oranges and blood oranges, I combined them with a fish that I love to order when eating out — halibut. It’s always so expensive at the fish market, making it a relative bargain on a restaurant menu. But I couldn’t resist buying some when I saw it on sale last week, and a 3/4 pound piece was enough for the two of us. It provided the perfect foil for the oranges and the salsa verde. It couldn’t be much simpler to cook either. Just dry the fish thoroughly, sprinkle with salt and white pepper and place it skin side down in a hot skillet coated with oil. I didn’t use olive oil here since the heat is cranked way up, but rather chose canola oil. You could use peanut or safflower oil, which also have a high smoking point. The skin will start to crisp up, and eventually loosen from the pan. After about five minutes, lower the temperature of the burner.

You could flip the fish over and finish cooking on the other side, or even easier, just leave it skin side down and cover with a lid. It should finish cooking in just a couple of minutes.

While the fish is cooking (or before you even start cooking the fish), make the salsa verde, by finely mincing the parsley, dill, onion, capers and jalapeño. The jalapeño is optional, but I had some candied jalapeño in the pantry and I thought they would add a nice “zip” to the salsa.

Scatter the orange sections and salsa all around the fish.

Serve with some rice and vegetables for a colorful, healthy and easy to prepare dinner that’s fit for company or just you and your partner.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.)

Halibut with oranges and salsa verde
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¾ lb. - 1 lb. halibut
  • 2 tablespoons canola, safflower, peanut or other vegetable oil with a high smoking point
  • 2 oranges sectioned into supremes (I used one cara cara and one blood orange)
  • FOR THE SALSA VERDE:
  • ½ cup finely minced parsley
  • ½ cup finely minced dill
  • a couple of tablespoons finely minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • a couple of slices of candied or fresh jalapeno (optional)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt, pepper
  • juice that remains in the oranges after sectioning
Instructions
  1. Let the halibut sit on the counter for about a half hour to let it reach a temperature closer to the room temperature.
  2. It will cook more evenly if it's not cold from the refrigerator.
  3. Dry the piece (or pieces) of fish, then sprinkle with salt and white pepper.
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet, then add the fish, skin side down.
  5. Cook at high heat until the skin starts to loosen from the pan.
  6. (Be patient - It will take five minutes or so and it will splatter a lot of oil on your stove).
  7. At this point, lower the heat slightly, and put a lid on the pan to finish cooking.
  8. It should take only a couple of minutes to finish cooking.
  9. While the fish is cooking, section the oranges and make the salsa verde.
  10. For the salsa, combine all the ingredients and stir with a fork.
  11. Remove the halibut from the pan, drizzle the salsa on the fish and around the sides, and scatter the orange sections all around.
 

Orange Yogurt Loaf Cake

This recipe, from Jamie Schler’s wonderful new cookbook “Orange Appeal,” is originally made with blood oranges, but I used Cara Cara oranges instead. They’re really my favorite variety of orange, and ok, I admit it, I inadvertently bought two large bags of them, thinking one was a bag of grapefruits. So aside from eating fresh oranges a few times a day, I’ve been experimenting with lots of orange recipes.

Truth be told, the first time I made this recipe, it was a flop. Not that it wasn’t edible. It was. But it had a peculiar shape, due to pilot error. I used a loaf pan that was too small and caused the following chain of events: batter spilling over the sides of the pan, leaving a hollow down the center of the cake; crispy, burned bits on the bottom of the oven; smoke billowing into the kitchen and a loud alarm sounding throughout the house.

Still, that didn’t deter me from trying again. I could tell it was going to be a good cake. And remember I had all those oranges to use up. So this time I followed Jamie’s advice and used the proper size loaf pan – 9″ x 5″ by 2 1/2″. I also followed the recipe exactly, since the first time I added the oil to all the liquid ingredients rather than at the very end. Alright, I did forget to pour the syrup over the cake, but it was wonderful all the same, especially with the glaze over the top.

See for yourself, or rather try it for yourself. But make sure to read the directions thoroughly and follow the recipe and above all, use the right size loaf pan. Otherwise, get your oven cleaner ready.

Blood Orange Yogurt Loaf Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (7 ounces/195 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened plain whole-milk or Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 blood oranges, zested (I used the zest of 2 large Cara Cara oranges)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
  • Blood Orange Syrup:
  • ⅓ cup blood orange juice (or any orange juice)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • 1 cup (135 g) confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter a standard 9 x 5 x 2½ inch or 8 cup loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and flour the pan.
  2. Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, zest, and vanilla until blended and smooth.
  4. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined and smooth.
  5. Fold the oil into the batter, a little at a time, until well-blended and no oil has collected around the edges of the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the center of the cake is moist, but set and a tested inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  7. Prepare the orange syrup by placing the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat.
  8. Cook until warm and the sugar has completely dissolved and the liquid is clear. Set aside to cool slightly.
  9. When the cake is done, remove from the oven onto a cooling rack that has been placed on top of a large foil-lined baking sheet and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Carefully loosen the cake from the pan by running a knife around the edges.
  11. Turn the cake out of the pan, discard the parchment paper, and then place the cake upright on the cooling rack.
  12. While the cake is still warm, pour and brush the warm syrup all over the top, allowing it to soak the loaf and run down the sides. Allow to cool completely.
  13. Prepare the glaze by stirring the orange juice into the sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the glaze is smooth. The glaze should be thin enough to spoon or drizzle over the cake but just stiff enough that some of the glaze will cling to the sides.
 

Chocolate Orange Marble Loaf Cake and a Giveaway

I’ve been trying to stay away from baking all summer (that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my share of ice cream however).
But when a new cookbook arrived and I started flipping through it, my resolve quickly dissolved.
The next day I baked this cake — one of the most delicious cakes I’ve had in a long time, with rich chocolate and subtle orange flavor, a tender crumb and a luscious chocolate ganache topping.
Fortunately, later in the day I was meeting some board members from an Italian cultural institution I’m part of, who offered to lend with our annual mailing.
I lure them each year by bringing food, and they happily stuffed envelopes and slapped on stamps, sustained by this cake from Jamie Schler’s new cookbook, “Orange Appeal.”  Several of them took slices home too, leaving me with just enough cake to give my dad the next day.
It’s definitely a cake that will make appearance after appearance in my kitchen.
The photos are beautiful too, by Ilva Beretta, who also collaborated for two years with Jamie on the blog, Plated Stories.
Jamie now lives in Chinon, France, from which she writes the blog “Life’s A Feast,” and where she also runs a hotel (Hotel Diderot) — a place I’m longing to visit at some point.
With her busy life, I don’t know how she found time to write a cookbook, but it contains a plethora of recipes that include oranges in some form or other — not unexpected for someone who grew up in Florida.
I’ve made my share of candied oranges, but never tried orange powder, orange sugar, or orange salt. But with Jamie’s instructions from the book, they’ll be on my to-do list as soon as citrus season rolls in here in the Northeast U.S.
The book contains many savory recipes as well as sweet ones, and I’m really looking forward to trying the sweet-and-sour marmalade-glazed oven baked chicken next.
I’ve also got my eyes fixed on the glazed blood orange yogurt loaf cake and many others too, but they’ll have to wait until I make this chocolate orange marble loaf cake again, this time for my husband to try.
After you mix the batter, it gets divided in two parts. One is for the chocolate mixture, and into the other go the orange peel and orange juice. The raw batter was so delicious I had to restrain myself from licking too much off the spatula.
I swirled the chocolate batter into the white batter using a knife.
The kitchen smells divine while it’s baking. Let it rest for a few minutes before removing it form the pan.
The recipe says the chocolate glaze is optional, but for me it was an absolute necessity (especially if you’re using a Lindt chocolate bar that contains orange bits).
It’s a good thing I had a meeting to take this to, or I’d have eaten half the cake myself.

 

I did have to eat one slice before taking it to the meeting (you know, quality control and all that stuff).
Now I’d like to offer one of you a free copy of “Orange Appeal” so you can try this and all the other recipes in the book.
Just leave a comment at the bottom of the blog post (not in email), and a way for me to contact you if your name is chosen.
Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I’m cooking up each day.
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter.
Chocolate Orange Marble Loaf Cake
From “Orange Appeal” by Jamie Schler
1 3/4 cups (8 ounces/230 g) all-purpose flour
2 Tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
12 tablespoons (6 ounces/175 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/8 cups (225 g) granulated white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large orange, zested
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 packed tablespoons (18 g) unsweetened cocoa powderPreheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).   Butter a standard 9 x 5 x 2 1/2 inch (23 x 13 x 6 1/2 cm) or 8 cup 2 l) loaf pan; fit a piece of parchment paper in the bottom.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, and then beat in the oil. Beat in the flour mixture until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Divide the batter evenly between 2 bowls. Beat the zest and juice into 1 portion of the batter, and the milk, vanilla and cocoa into the other portion of batter until well-blended.

Spoon large dollops of each mixture, alternating the batters, into the prepared loaf pan. Drag a skewer or a long, sharp knife blade back and forth through the batter in swirls to create a marble pattern. Smooth the surface if necessary.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, until the cake is set in the center and just barely beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cover the top of the cake loosely with a sheet of foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking time to over over browning, if necessary.

Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before sliding a knife around the edges to loosen the cake and turning it out onto a cooling rack. Remove parchment paper from the bottom, allowing the cake to cool, top side up, on the rack.

Drizzle chocolate orange ganache over the top. (recipe below)

Chocolate Orange Ganache 
3/4 cup (3 1/2 ounces/100 g) coarsely chopped orange-infused 70 percent dark chocolate, such as Lindt Excellence Orange intense
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy creamPlace the chocolate into a medium heatproof mixing bowl. Slowly heat the cream in a small saucepan until it comes just to the boiling point. Pour the cream immediately over the chocolate and stir until it is smooth and creamy. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a drizzling consistency before spooning over the sponge cake.

Flounder and Fennel with Lemon and Oranges

 The older I get, the harder it becomes to shed those extra pounds. It seems like the resolve I had to lose weight at the beginning of the year is always thwarted by another dinner party, another restaurant meal, another gift of chocolates or some other temptation that I’ve been given.

I confess I’m not very good at resisting all these treats, but in an attempt to ameliorate the extra calories that pile on, I cook a meal like this and it helps assuage any guilt.
But I don’t make this meal just because of the lower caloric load. It’s also because it just tastes so delicious. The fish was caught locally off New Jersey shores and that helps. The short cooking time and technique also ensures you’ll have a flaky and moist piece of fish to serve. It’s quick and easy enough to prepare for a weeknight meal, but good enough for company too.
Start by buttering an ovenproof dish and slicing fennel into “matchsticks.” Salt and pepper the fennel,  then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for about 10 minutes at 475 degrees F.
Remove from the oven then place the fish on top of the fennel.
Scatter a little butter on top (I used less than 1 T. for two servings), season the fish, and place slices of lemon and orange on top. Squeeze more juice and some white wine over all and bake for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle a little parsley on top, serve with a side of veggies and enjoy a no-guilt meal.

 

Ciao Chow Linda is also on Instagram, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Click here to connect with me on Facebook, here for my Pinterest page, here for my Twitter feed and here for my Instagram page to see more of what I’m cooking up each day.



Flounder and Fennel with Lemon and Oranges
printable recipe here

For Two Servings:

Two pieces of flounder or fluke (about 6 oz. each)
1/2 fennel bulb
1 T. butter
1 clementine or small orange
1 lemon
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt, pepper
minced parsley

Lightly grease an ovenproof pan with a little of the 1 T. butter. You’ll use the rest of the butter on the fish later.
Slice the fennel into “matchstick” size pieces. Scatter them in the pan, season with salt and pepper and cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake in a 475 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, and place the fish over the fennel. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the juice of half a clementine or small orange, and half a lemon over the top. Pour 1/4 cup dry white wine over the fish and dab with the rest of the 1 T. butter.
Cover with the aluminum foil and place back in the oven for 10 minutes, or until fish is cooked through and flaky. It may take less than 10 minutes if your fish pieces are thin, so check after five or six minutes)