It’s Cara Cara season! What is Cara Cara season you ask? It’s the time of year when you can find my favorite oranges in the store – the Cara Cara Orange. So yummy, such a beautiful reddish orange color, and so perfect for making an orange bundt cake. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and a fork and dig right in.
I haven’t done a ‘how do you cook this‘ post in while, they got lost with all the holiday madness, but – like with my Hubbard Squash post and my Delicata Squash post, these posts are designed to highlight some of the more unusual produce out there and give you an idea or two on how to use it. Beyond the obvious!
Cara Cara oranges are an orange I just discovered last year. I needed some oranges for a recipe and bought the first ones I saw in the store, figuring they were just another name for navel oranges, and got quite the surprise when I cut them open. 🙂 And then we got another surprise when we tried them since they were soooo good! Unfortunately, though I had no idea at the time, the season was almost over and I couldn’t find them anywhere when I went out to get more. So, I’m telling you early, get them now – the season will be over too soon.
A few things to know about the Cara Cara orange. The flesh is very juicy and sweet, and is a deep orange red color (though the juice is orange only). The peel is thick, but easy to remove and the zest is quite strongly flavored. The flavor has a nice balance of acidity and sweetness. And this orange is great in all sorts of recipes, from cake to marmalade to salsa to salads and more! Around here most of the time they get sliced up and eaten; just ask my daughter where a dozen of them have gone in the past week.
However, if you feel like doing some baking and going all out, they are really excellent in this bundt cake I’ve adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Orange Pound Cake with Bourbon Glaze. As in the original recipe, regular navel oranges will work also, but the Cara Cara’s really kick it up a notch. Also, I decided to pair the cake with an orange glaze to really hit on that orange flavor. Even though it’s the middle of winter here, eating this cake I feel like it is summer again.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice, from a cara cara orange (1 1/2 - 2 oranges)
- grated zest of one orange
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice, from a cara cara orange
- 2-3 tbsp buttermilk
- grated zest of one orange
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Prepare the bundt pan: Brush the surface of the pan carefully with butter, being sure to get into every corner. Then dust liberally with flour, tapping to remove the excess.
- To make the cake: Add the butter and sugar to the mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix together the orange juice and zest.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture and orange juice in turns; add about one-third of the flour, followed by half of the orange juice, mixing only until just incorporated after each addition. Repeat using another one third of the flour and the remaining half of the orange juice, followed by the last third of the flour. Beat until just barely mixed together; then take it off the mixer and use the spatula to get the last bits of flour.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cake rest for about 10 minutes. Then loosen the cake from the edges of the pan, banging on outside of the bundt pan with the wooden end of a spatula to make sure it has released. Carefully turn it onto a cooling rack and let the cake slide out of the pan.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, mix together the glaze ingredients until smooth. The glaze should flow thickly from a spoon, if needed add the third tablespoon of buttermilk. Then spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, bringing the spoon back and forth from the outside to the middle of the cake.
When getting organized to make this, zest both oranges first and set aside the zest for the cake and for the glaze.