Here we go. Here it is. Waited for so long. Eagerly looked for. Expected, with the most pure and childlike anticipation one might have. It's been on the supermarket shelves for more than a month. It's been in out kitchen for at least half of this time. It's been on our minds, silently snoozing, for the whole year. And here it is - Christmas - with all its beauty standing on the other side of the street. I almost hear it knocking on the front door. Can you?
Can you smell it? Can you see its glittering footsteps resting on the fluffy snowdrift? Can you hear the silent rustle of its transparently white coat elegantly approaching you?
Can you touch it? No? Just try. Just breathe it in and hold your breath so that it could penetrate into your bones and warm you up wholly. Let it caress your heart with the most beautiful, gentle and delicate hand, and let it hold you like a mother holds her child, while trying to protect him from every danger of the world. Let it raise your hope, even if you've just lost one. Cause it's Christmas. And you deserve it!
This is the last Christmas recipe I'm going to share with you this year. Nicely but generously spiced Orange and Chocolate Cake. It does not require any special or time-consuming preparation, so if you're still doubting about your Christmas dessert-plate, or if there's still one empty seat that must be filled on it, you should definitely take this cake into consideration. Otherwise, just keep it in my, when after all those sweet and stuffed holidays you'll still be looking for a very final touch. For something that tastes like Christmas. Something that makes the magic linger for another while.
Because it does. It will. I promise.
Spiced Orange Cake with Chocolate Bits and Chocolate Glaze
adapted from What's For Lunch Honey?
For 3-inch (7 cm) brioche mold:
1 1/5 cup (200 g) all-purpose flour
3.5 oz (100 g) butter, softened
1 1/4 cup (125 g) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
2 oz (50 g) bitter-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/8 tsp freshly crushed cardamom seeds
1/8 tsp freshly ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup pistachios, lightly toasted in a pan (preferably unsalted, but I used salted pistachios and they actually worked fine)
1 oz (25 g) candied orange, chopped
grated zest from 1 medium orange
For chocolate glaze:
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 Tbsp milk
3-4 Tbsp sugar, depending on how much sweetness you' would like
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) temperature.
Generously butter a brioche mold to make sure the cake will not stick to it.
In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, salt and all the spices until you get creamy texture. One at a time, beat in the eggs. Pour in the milk.
Sieve the flour together with baking powder and using a rubber spatula incorporate it into the batter.
Finally, fold in the candied orange, fresh orange zest, chocolate and pistachios.
Pour all the the batter into the buttered brioche mold, and bake in the oven for about 70-80 minutes on the lower rack of it. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Take the cake out and allow it to cool. Then carefully remove from the mold.
To make the chocolate glaze, on medium heat in a small saucepan melt the butter. Add cocoa and milk. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients are well incorporated. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then, remove from heat and mix in the sugar. At this point, you should taste and add more if you feel that the sweetness is missing.
While the glaze is still warm, drizzle it on top of the cake, as evenly as possible. Leave it to set.