florida citrus pound cake.

florida winters are really, really strange.

we have decidedly non-traditional winters here in florida, chilly one day, and humid the next. one day it’ll be in the mid-70’s, and the next it’s a bitterly cold 31 degrees. this bipolar weather pattern see-saws back and forth from december to march. we’ll wear shorts one day, and wool coats the next. it’s quite annoying, really. floridians like me who crave winter, who long to hear the wind howling against the windows, who get giddy when frost tops the grass just after dawn.

our cold weather is just a big tease. it promises blustery, neverending days, but never delivers. we might get lucky and have two or three days in a row of gorgeously chilly weather, but by the weekend, we’re sweating again. ugh.

really, the only good thing to come out of this vacillating weather pattern is florida citrus.

while a hard frost can kill an entire citrus grove, a periodic dip in temperature actually brings out the sweetness in the fruit. the meyer lemons, tangerines, and honeybell oranges in my parents’ backyard have a brighter, cloying flavor after a cold snap that i just can’t get enough of.

not surprisingly, we absolutely adore squeezing our own juice. it’s a thousand percent more flavorful than anything you’ll get out of a carton, the only exception being juice from a citrus grove storefront, of course. i’m not so crazy about pulp in my juice, so i always strain it out. most people simply toss this pulp in the garbage, which is just about the silliest thing you can do with citrus pulp. pulp is so incredibly versatile, nutritious (all that fiber! and vitamins!), and can add a tremendous amount of flavor when it’s used in the correct applications.

enter: the humble pound cake.

now don’t get me wrong, i’m a huge fan of plain ol’ vanilla pound cake. in fact, it’s one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. it’s great lightly toasted with butter and jam, a perfect accompaniment to ice cream, and it’s downright sinful as a supersweet french toast.

sometimes, however, it’s nice to mix it up.

this pound cake is nothing short of a celebration of florida citrus. it’s a ticker-tape parade of orange, tangerine and meyer lemon. this cake is a great example of waste not, want not, using the zest, juice, and pulp to create an unbelievably light and moist cake with a delicate crumb. this cake is bright, ebullient, tart and sweet, much like our winters here in florida.

i almost always glaze pound cake, but this cake is so sweet, rich, and tart on its own, a glaze would almost certainly make it far too sweet. why mess with a good thing?

florida citrus pound cake

adapted from barefoot contessa
yield: 2 standard one pound loaves

special equipment necessary

two loaf pans
hand or stand mixer (or a spatula and strong arm muscles!)
sifter

what you’ll need

1/2 lb. butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
zest of one orange
zest of three tangerines
zest of one lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. kosher salt
1/3 cup orange/mixed citrus pulp*
3/4 cup buttermilk (i used low-fat)
1 t. vanilla paste (vanilla extract works too)
1 t. orange liqueur (i heart grand marnier)

*we just use pulp from straining fresh-squeezed juice, but you can always use store-bought juice with extra pulp and strain that, which will work just fine for you!


what you’ll do

preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
butter and flour your loaf pans so your pound cakes won’t stick. i just use the butter wrapper(s) to butter my pans, sprinkle in flour, tap it around to coat the pan, and tap the excess flour out. set aside.

cream the butter by itself until it’s pale, about 1-2 minutes.

add your sugar, and cream again until light in color and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated into the batter before adding the next. i crack mine in a separate bowl first so i can fish out any eggshells that might slip in. eggshells are sneaky.

add the zest! the batter will start looking bespeckled and quite pretty.

in a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

in another separate bowl (i know, this recipe is bowl-heavy! sorry!), mix together the buttermilk, pulp, vanilla and orange liqueur. yum.

add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the batter in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

mix until everything is just incorporated, don’t overmix! overmixing causes the gluten in the flour to develop, which makes your pound cake chewy and tough. no one likes chewy, tough pound cake.

divide the batter between two pans, and smooth the surface with a spatula. rap the pans against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles and settle the batter into the pans.

bake the cakes for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


but wait! about ten minutes before the cakes are done, do this!

on the stovetop, mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup orange juice, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. when the cakes come out of the oven. immediately spoon this syrup atop each cake generously. this will ensure your cake will be uber-moist. you could totally add a bit of orange liqueur to this syrup, if you want. i did.

let the cakes cool completely in the pans before removing and slicing.

the pound cakes will keep for up to four days in an airtight container, but i suggest you wrap one in aluminum foil, put in a zip-top plastic bag, and stash it away in the freezer for the next time a citrusy cake craving hits. to thaw, just place it in the fridge overnight and nom away!

florida citrus pound cake

adapted from barefoot contessa

yield: two one-pound loaf cakes

note: we just use pulp from straining fresh-squeezed juice, but you can always use store-bought juice with extra pulp and strain that, which will work just fine for you!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
zest of one orange
zest of three tangerines
zest of one lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. kosher salt
1/3 cup orange/mixed citrus pulp (see note)
3/4 cup buttermilk (i used low-fat)
1 t. vanilla paste (vanilla extract works too)
1 t. orange liqueur (i heart grand marnier)

Directions:

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

butter and flour your loaf pans so your pound cakes won’t stick. i just use the butter wrapper(s) to butter my pans, sprinkle in flour, tap it around to coat the pan, and tap the excess flour out. set aside.

cream the butter by itself until it’s pale, about 1-2 minutes.

add your sugar, and cream again until light in color and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated into the batter before adding the next.

add the zest! the batter will start looking bespeckled and quite pretty.

in a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

in another separate bowl (i know, this recipe is bowl-heavy! sorry!), mix together the buttermilk, pulp, vanilla and orange liqueur.

add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the batter in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

mix until everything is just incorporated, don’t overmix!

divide the batter between two pans, and smooth the surface with a spatula.

rap the pans against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles and settle the batter into the pans.

bake the cakes for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

but wait! about ten minutes before the cakes are done, do this!

on the stovetop, mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup orange juice, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

when the cakes come out of the oven. immediately spoon this syrup atop each cake generously. this will ensure your cake will be uber-moist. you could totally add a bit of orange liqueur to this syrup, if you want. i did.

let the cakes cool completely in the pans before removing and slicing.

the pound cakes will keep for up to four days in an airtight container, but i suggest you wrap one in aluminum foil, put in a zip-top plastic bag, and stash it away in the freezer for the next time a citrusy cake craving hits.

to thaw, just place it in the fridge overnight.

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4 Responses to “florida citrus pound cake.”

  1. #
    1
    kelly g — April 21, 2011 at 7:41 am

    oooooh… love poundcake and citrus. i might die if i ate this.

  2. #
    2
    Elizabeth Merz — May 5, 2014 at 11:39 am

    No need to publish this comment, but I wanted to let you know that “cloying” is a pejorative term, not a positive one:

    Cloying: disgusting or distasteful by reason of excess

    Your recipe looks wonderful!

  3. #
    3
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