A somewhat healthier version of Barefoot Contessa’s orange pound cake. A sweet, citrus cake perfect with tea.
There are certain defining years in my life. 2006, the year I got married. 2004, the year I graduated college. Of course, 2003, the year I turned 21. I’d say that was also a defining one for my parents. Or at least a defining day when they found out about the little ER visit and the attempts at biting the nurse trying to strip me of my vomit covered clothes.
But 1998, out of all 29 of them so far honestly sticks out as the most memorable.
It was the year we became upperclassmen in high school, the best season my soccer team ever had, an amazing summer with friends, boys, drinking parties (sorry mom and dad) in the woods and most notably, the year we all got our license.
My birthday is in the spring so I’m not terribly old or young for my grade, but that year it felt like an eternity waiting for April to roll around. Thankfully, Melissa’s birthday was in January.
Melissa and I had played soccer and been friends since about 5th grade. We were both on the same club soccer team 30 minutes north of where we lived, we had the same group of high school friends and most importantly at the time, Melissa had a car.
A late 80’s baby blue Chevy Cavalier. For some reason I also want to say it was a nun’s car before Melissa owned it (I could be completely making that up, not sure) which I think just adds something to the visual. A bunch of rowdy teenagers riding around in a car previously owned by a holy person. Ironic, no?
It took us on many trips to the mall, to soccer practice and to parties. It was freedom epitomized. Until she totaled it, and then totaled the next one, and the next one too.
That was 14 years ago. Today, Melissa turns 30.
Last night her and her son, Ethan came over for dinner and we got to celebrate with wine and orange pound cake (we’ll forget about the fussy baby part).
If anyone knows cake, it’s Ina. The woman’s got butter and sugar down. I actually ended up tweaking one of her recipes a bit and making it a somewhat healthier. And by healthier, I mean just not heart attack inducing upon the first bite. This is not a “healthy” recipe in any way, shape or form.
I have to say, this time around, I’m happy to let Melissa go first on the birthday front. I’m going to milk these next 94 days before turning 30 for as long as possible.
Happy birthday Melis, here’s to 2012, another defining year and here’s an indulgent orange pound cake to kick things off!
Not feeling pound cake? Try these easy orange muffins instead. Full of bright orange flavor and glazed with a fresh orange icing, they’re just as decadent too.
Orange Pound Cake
For the Orange Pound Cake
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup orange zest
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- scant 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Glaze
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a loaf pan.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes)
- Add applesauce to mixer and combine.
- Add eggs one at a time while continuing to mix.
- Add orange zest
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together.
- Combine remaining wet ingredients in another small bowl and whisk together.
- Alternate adding dry ingredients and wet ingredients to mixer, ending with the dry ingredients.
- Mix until well combined.
- Pour batter into loaf pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.
- Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes then invert and then place on drying rack until fully cooled.
- Mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the cake once cooled.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
What was your most “defining” year and why?
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.