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Author Notes: If your fondness for campfires and sweets runs as deeply as mine, this dessert is sure to delight you. You can bake the cakes in a Dutch oven over the fire as I did, or wrap each one individually in aluminum foil and place them over the fire. I prefer the oven method because you simply have to remove the lid to check on them instead of trying to fuss with super hot foil. In addition, the oven is simpler to move and a large one will hold all the cakes conveniently. The cake recipe itself couldn't be any more travel friendly; if you want to make this treat while camping, simply mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl with a lid beforehand. In a separate container, measure out the oil and vinegar. When you're ready to make the cake, all you need to add is hot water. Save all the orange innards and juice for breakfast the next morning. —Samantha Ardry
Makes: 12 small or 6 large orange cakes
cups (212 g) unbleached pastry or all purpose flour
cup (21 g) cocoa powder
teaspoon baking soda
cup (198 g) sugar
cup vegetable oil
tablespoon white vinegar
cup hot water or coffee
- Prepare your fire first. Let the fire get established and after about an hour, the heat will be nice and consistent. If you want to bake the cakes in a dutch oven, set it over the fire, but not directly on the flames. Let it preheat while you make the cakes. Alternatively, you can wrap each cake in aluminum foil after assembly, however I find that the Dutch oven method allows you to check on the cakes without as much risk of getting burned.
- Assemble your orange cups: slice a small bit of the rind off the bottom of each orange so it will stand upright. I like to save these little bits to use as patches if there are any holes in the rinds of your oranges. Next, cut off 1/3 of the top of orange and save those as well. Hold the oranges over a bowl and run a paring knife between the flesh of the oranges and the rind, then use a spoon to scoop out the centers. The bowl will catch al the segments and juice, so you can make OJ later.
- When all the oranges are hollowed out, set them on a level tray lined with a couple pieces of parchment paper.
- To make the cake, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Whisk in the sugar.
- Pour the oil, vinegar and hot water or coffee into the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds to combine everything into a smooth batter.
- Fill each orange cup with batter no more than 3/4 full. Place the reserved orange "lids" on top. Carefully remove the lid from your hot Dutch oven. Grip the parchment paper on opposite ends and carefully lower all the orange cakes into the oven. Put the lid back on and let them bake away. Check the cakes after about 15 minutes; depending on your fire, they make take longer. When they are baked through, remove the Dutch oven from the fire, remove the cakes and their orange lids. Let the cakes cool slightly and then enjoy.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe Cooked Over a Fire