Monday, January 15, 2007

Friday Treat -Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake

In the continuation of a healthy treat theme this month, I baked a Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake for OCT's Friday lab meeting.

This cake, which is full of vitamin C (from orange) and antioxidant (from bittersweet chocolate) comes from Barefoot Contessa Parties. My favorite cookbook author, Ina Garten. So far, every recipes I tried from her series of cookbooks have been nothing short from excellent. I really like her style of using the simplest ingredients and turning them into showstopping kind of dishes.

This cake is no exception. In this recipe, Ina incorporated lots of orange zests and semisweet chocolate into the cake. I took the liberty to switch the semisweet chocolate to bittersweet, because I simply like bittersweet chocolate better! And because oranges are in season and plentyful, I know I have to make this cake. I did add one secret ingredient into this cake though.
Instead of cutting up chocolate chunks, guess what I use?

thanks Santa, for your selfless sacrifice....

After the cake was cooled, I couldn't wait to cut a small piece to try. And needless to say, I love it! If you like citrus fruit and chocolate like I do, this is for you. It's a perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, for breakfast, tea or just anytime of the day.

Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake

1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup grated orange zest (4 large oranges)
3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chunks

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

8 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the orange zest.

Sift together 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures, alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the chocolate chunks with 2 tablespoons flour and add to the batter. Pour into the pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves. Remove the cake form the pan, set it on a rack over a tray, and spoon the orange syrup over the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely.

For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over top of the cake.

Note: I omitted the chocolate glaze for a healthier version and used bittersweet chocolate. Also, I think 2 cups of chocolate chunk is too much, I will use 1.5 cup next time, and reduce the syrup by half. Plenty of citrus flavor and sweetness even with half the syrup.

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