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Orange We Gonna Stop MS? -Orange Marmalade Cake

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We had an absolutely beautiful day here in Iowa. Sun shining and 70-degree weather. I had Border Collies sunning on our deck all day. Who could blame them? I know the weather won’t last but I took advantage to break out the grill. Also, I made a fantastic cake. Orange week continues with this cake. This cake recipe comes from The Mitford Series by Jan Karon. Is it weird that an Episcopal priest enjoys this series of books? Well, I do. I won’t tell you that this is exactly how parish life plays out but trust me, there are some similarities. For instance, I have a big, black dog and I love this cake.

This cake takes a little time because it has a few steps but they are all well worth it. If you like orange at all or you need a cake that induces thoughts of springtime here you go.

 Orange Marmalade Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten lightly
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Orange Syrup:

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup orange marmalade

For the Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup well-chilled heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup well-chilled sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans (I just line my pans with parchment paper. It saves a lot of time and a lot of mess and your cakes come out perfectly).

In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a mixer, beat the butter until combined, add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternately with 1/2 of the buttermilk until combined well. Add half the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk and beat until combined well. Finally, beat in the remaining dry ingredients until mixture is smooth.

Evenly divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to racks and cool in the pans for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the orange syrup: In a bowl, stir together the orange juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. With a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes at 1/2-inch intervals in the cake layers and spoon the syrup over each layer, allowing the syrup to be completely absorbed before adding the remaining. Let layers cool completely.

Microwave the marmalade until just melted. Let cool 5 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the sugar until it forms firm peaks. Add the sour cream, a little at a time, and whisk until of spreading consistency.

Arrange one of the layers on a cake plate, carefully peel off the waxed paper, and then spread 2/3 of the marmalade over the top, smoothing it into an even layer. Invert the remaining layer onto the top of the first layer. Frost the cake with whipped cream. If desired, use the remaining marmalade for a garnish. Chill 2 hours before serving.

Orange We Gonna Stop MS? -Orange Poppyseed Muffins

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So, what is MS? According to the National MS Society, “Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord). It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. This means the immune system incorrectly attacks the person’s healthy tissue. MS can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, blindness and more. These problems may be permanent or may come and go. MS is as unique as the individual. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.1 million worldwide.” If I were that lucky in everything, I’d play the lottery! For me personally, MS can cause fatigue, difficulty walking, and vision changes. As one person said with great sensitivity and empathy; I look like “a drunken mule.” I’ll make another plug for the National MS Society. Go check out the website to learn more about this disease and how we can fight it.

Orange recipe for today: Orange Poppy Seed Muffins! You’d be hard-pressed to find anything easier to bake than quick breads and few things make your home smell more heavenly. I wasn’t about to squeeze a fresh orange for this recipe (and orange juice was on sale) so I substituted the stuff in the carton. One orange will produce about ¼ cup of juice.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I omitted this because I used salted butter)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

For the glaze:

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a muffin pan. Melt 1/2 cup of butter and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, blend orange zest and sugar. Mix until fragrant.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds.  Mix until well blended.

In a separate bowl whisk together sour cream, eggs, vanilla, orange juice, and melted butter until well blended.  Pour liquid mixture over the dry ingredients.  Gently stir until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Spoon into prepared muffin pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 18 minutes, or until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean.

While the muffins are baking, make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons orange juice until smooth.

Remove muffins from pan, place on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet beneath to catch the overspill.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before dipping each muffin into the glaze.