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Chocolate Chip Citrus Cake

May 17, 2011

As a rule, I’m pretty intimidated by cakes. I think it’s the precision – weighing and sifting flour, timing it perfectly, the batter reacting to moisture in the air – cakes really set off my kitchen insecurities.

This time, however, I was tempted by a favorite flavor combination: orange and chocolate. (Chocolate-covered orange peels are an annual Passover treat for me.) When I stumbled on this Norwegian Easter tradition, I figured it was worth attempting to overcome my cake-neuroses, if only for a couple of hours. To my surprise, it was actually quite easy, and I got to use my lonely, under-utilized bundt pan.

In a happy accident, I didn’t have enough orange juice, so I supplemented it with tangerine juice in both the cake and the icing. The tangerine really made this cake sing, adding a freshness that complimented the delicate crumb and contrasted with the chunks of dark chocolate.

I didn’t have the patience to let the cake cool completely before icing it, so it turned into more of a glaze than an icing. I really loved how it blended into the top of the cake – another happy accident.

Chocolate Citrus Cake

Adapted from Norwegian Orange Cake, LA Times

For cake:
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
Grated zest of 2 tangerines
¼ cup orange juice
1½ Tablespoons tangerine juice
1⅓ cups (5.7 ounces) flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
3 ounces dark chocolate (preferably 70%), finely chopped
Candied orange and tangerine peel for garnish, chopped
(I made it myself, which is a lot of work for a garnish, but oh, what a garnish…)

For icing:
2 Tablespoons tangerine juice
¾ cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the tangerine zest and juice.
4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
5. A little at a time, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate.
6. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9-inch bundt pan, smoothing the top of the batter. (The batter will come slightly less than halfway up the sides of the pan.)
7. Bake the cake until puffed and lightly browned on top and a toothpick or cake tester inserted comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a cooling rack, then remove from the mold. The finished cake will be about 3 inches tall in the center.
8. While the cake is cooling, make the icing: In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add 2 tablespoons tangerine juice and whisk to form the icing.
9. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake, then garnish with the candied orange.

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