Ultra-Orange Cake (it’s Vegan, too!)

March 13, 2012 § 3 Comments

This is a great cake, all-around. It’s got a complex sweetness to it, much like most of my vegan friends. It is very moist but crumby too, in a good way.  The orange flavor isn’t overpowering, rather, it lends itself to being a more “adult” style cake, though I’d imagine it would make a divine birthday cake for kids of any age if it were smothered in chocolate icing. I should mention that I’ve already test-driven this cake on my kid so I assure you it can be considered a “toddler-style” cake as well.  If you’re eager to get to the recipe, feel free to scroll to the bottom of this post.
This cake had been calling to me for years, as I’d leaf through my trusty copy of The Joy of Cooking. But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered it is possible to make cake from scratch without going through multiple, seemingly endless steps (sift, sift together, then sift some more? No thanks.) We had some orange juice that had been hanging out in the fridge for a while so I decided to give it the Ultra-Orange Cake a shot for an afternoon coffee treat.

The Ultra-Orange Cake is relatively low in fat compared to some, due to the fact that there are not any eggs in the batter. Rather than butter, this recipe calls for canola oil, and only 1/3 cup of it.

I used my 8″ x 8″ baking pan, and cut the cake into 9 even and quite large squares. I promptly froze 7 of them in individual containers and the hubby, daughter, and I shared 2 pieces. While I usually like my baked goods warm and fresh from the oven, I’ve got to say that one of those frozen pieces, thawed on the counter for 30 minutes or so, makes an excellent treat on its own.

Ultra-Orange (Vegan) Cake
from the updated edition of The Joy of Cooking

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar (J.O.C. says white, but I prefer brown)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Lightly grease the inside of an 8 x 8″ baking pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, whisk to combine: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt.

To dry ingredients, add remaining ingredients (OJ, oil, zest, vinegar, vanilla) and stir until mostly smooth. Do not over-stir as this would result in a chewy cake.

Pour batter into lined pan and gently shake to level. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Happy nibbling,

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