Cake

Make This Orange Five-Spice Bundt Cake with Zest, Pith, and All

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March 31, 2016

We partnered up with our friends at Miele for our latest contest—The Recipe You're Most Proud Ofand we're featuring some of the community members behind the recipes. We'll feature this dish, and others from the contest, at upcoming Food52 demos.

Wait, wait, wait: hardlikearmour's saying that you don't have to peel or juice the oranges that go into this cake? That there's none of this zesting business, that you just chop them into chunks, toss them into a food processor, and... that's it? Yes, that's what she's saying, and that's not all.

She throws a five-spice streusel curveball into the mix, all before things really get going in the oven, and then uses leftover orange juice for the cake's orange-vanilla glaze. A smart cake, one that takes advantage of whole ingredients, is a good cake. It's also the kind of cake that gets chosen as a Community Pick in our contests!

But it didn't come together for her in a snap. As soon as she saw a recipe for a cake using a whole orange in Sunset Magazine, she knew she wanted to play with it by adding some spice like anise, one of her favorites. The whole orange component intrigued her (as it did us!) but after experimenting several times with the original batter and some cracked anise, it still wasn't exactly what she was hoping for—so down the rabbit hole she went.

"Sometimes a recipe works the first or second time. Not so with this cake. It took multiple iterations, and a fair amount of frustration, to have the cake, from imagination, become reality," hardlikearmour explains. "I'm proud of my perseverance!"

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I love the flavor of orange marmalade (the less sweet and chunkier the better), and look forward to making this cake. Regarding the dry ingredients measurements (and I'll just pull the pin from the grenade and throw it out there...), for rubes like me who do not have a kitchen scale and no plans to get one - I've been baking for decades and get along just fine without one - here are the measurements for the dry ingredients in cups and tablespoons: 3 dry ounces = 6 tablespoons (0.375 c.); 8.75 ounces = 1 c. + 1.5 tablespoons (1.09375 c.); 11.5 ounces = 1 c. + 7 tablespoons (measure 1.5 c. and take out a tablespoon); and 4 ounces = 1/2 c. Please, no lectures about kitchen scales - I've heard it all and get it. But if I don't want one more gadget in my kitchen and do quite well w/o one, then I can take the chance of ruining my own recipe (but I don't think I will).”
— mpeterse29
Comment

A breakthrough came when she swapped in the batter of a Cook's Illustrated sour cream coffee cake with streusel filling to stand in for the orange cake's base. She substituted food processor-puréed whole oranges for the sour cream, and increased the butter to account for the lost fat. A bit more tinkering with the streusel—where the five-spice comes in—brought out all the right notes.

Photo by James Ransom

This recipe is full of tips to up your baking game: In addition to using whole oranges, spinning your sugar in a food processor for finer grain, and pairing citrus with five-spice powder, EmilyC points out another new trick for baking that she learned when she tested the recipe: When baking with Bundt pans, brush the pan with a combination of melted butter and flour for an easy release once the cake's out of the oven.

Miele's been a part of the Food52 family since our first photo shoot (Amanda's mighty Miele dishwasher got us through 3 years of dishes). Learn more about how to update your kitchen with their products, like the range we used to prepare this Whole Orange Bundt Cake with Five-Spice Streusel.

11 Comments

Ascender October 3, 2016
Another win from using the whole orange is that citrus pith is a rich source of bioflavanoids which help maintain strong and flexible veins and arteries. It helps balance the butter.
 
Lori M. April 13, 2016
This reminds me of a cake recipe of my mother's. It was called "Orange Kiss-Me Cake". Really yummy. I will make this soon, for comparison purposes!
 
mpeterse29 April 13, 2016
This recipe looks fantastic! Thank you to hardlikearmour for putting in the time and research (not to mention what sounds like loads of ingredients over time) in putting this together. I love the flavor of orange marmalade (the less sweet and chunkier the better), and look forward to making this cake. Regarding the dry ingredients measurements (and I'll just pull the pin from the grenade and throw it out there...), for rubes like me who do not have a kitchen scale and no plans to get one - I've been baking for decades and get along just fine without one - here are the measurements for the dry ingredients in cups and tablespoons: 3 dry ounces = 6 tablespoons (0.375 c.); 8.75 ounces = 1 c. + 1.5 tablespoons (1.09375 c.); 11.5 ounces = 1 c. + 7 tablespoons (measure 1.5 c. and take out a tablespoon); and 4 ounces = 1/2 c. Please, no lectures about kitchen scales - I've heard it all and get it. But if I don't want one more gadget in my kitchen and do quite well w/o one, then I can take the chance of ruining my own recipe (but I don't think I will).
 
Shruti April 4, 2016
Is there a way to substitute butter for another ingredient. 1 1/4 c seems excessive.
 
Ascender October 3, 2016
I haven't tried it in this recipe yet, but I often replace 50% of the butter in a recipe with 3x as much (freshly) ground flax seed. Flax is 33% healthy oil, so you get the same amount of fat, it is simply healthier whole-food fat that brings fiber and protein with it.<br /><br />I do this with waffles, muffins, cakes and cookies. I like it better than butter in waffles -- makes them crisper than butter. Baked goods brown a bit more, so test -- don't be fooled and pull them out of the oven before they are done!
 
Ascender October 3, 2016
For those confused by the math: If a recipe calls for 1c butter, I use 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/2c ground flax.
 
Que D. April 2, 2016
That is one gorgeous cake & quite beautiful oven too.
 
hardlikearmour March 31, 2016
Thanks, ladies :-)
 
EmilyC March 31, 2016
Love this cake.
 
Caroline L. March 31, 2016
me too!
 
Author Comment
Samantha W. March 31, 2016
Me 3!