This week, all I want to do is say thanks. And eat cake. That's right: I want to say thanks and eat cake and bask in the moment. No profound narratives about life beneath our shop's awning. No reflections about mistakes made or upcoming markets. No bits about new menus or new employees. Instead, I simply want to offer a big round of thank yous accompanied by fat slices of this warm and buttery marmalade-glazed cake. It's sort of my new favorite thing. So there.
Last week, by way of some ingenious stroke of luck (I really should have picked up some lotto tickets), this here little corner of the web was featured in Saveur's "Sites We Love" column. Whaaaaat! I know. I pretty much had the identical reaction. Which is to say I was completely overwhelmed by an initial round of shock, followed by a spell of speechlessness for several days.
When you and your husband are both avid readers, and one of you just happens to be a chef, it is not uncommon to suffer a bit of an addiction to food magazines. For years, we saved every issue of every food magazine that was ever carried into our home. Against one wall in our kitchen rest more than a half dozen towering stacks of dusty back issues of Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Lucky Peach, and, of course, Saveur. I don't know why we saved them, really, seeing as most of the content is now available online. Nostalgia, I guess. That, and they proved to be the perfect height to serve as makeshift end tables, where guests could casually rest their drinks. Only recently did we finally make the decision to become converts and purchase a fancy new app that allows us to read all our magazines on our iPad, thus allowing us to save both on paper and on cash. After a great deal of hemming and hawing, we turned the hundreds of old paper issues over to the recycling bin (it got so bad that you literally could not pull the chairs out far enough to sit on one side of our kitchen table as a result of them). Put simply, food magazines like those I've listed above have long held a very treasured place in our daily lives. Hence why last week's Saveur bit felt so very special to us and like such a valid reason to engage in brief celebration.
Since the Saveur piece went live, I've been thrilled to see so many new readers from all over the place stopping by to visit me here (hello new friends!). I'm so thrilled that you're here and, as a way of welcoming you, I'd like to offer you this pretty amazing loaf cake. I'm proclaiming it as my new favorite "everyday" cake (yes, there is such a thing). While this cake is likely not fancy enough for, say, a birthday, it is just right for the sort of casual, everyday entertaining that I just adore. You know, the type of afternoon when you have zero plans, and then suddenly you do have plans in the form of three friends who will stop by in an hour. Or when a family member (or three) pops over for a casual, mid-week meal. This cake's simple batter, which you will be able to prepare in all of ten minutes, is made with a good serving of butter, two types of citrus zest and a generous scoop of lemon marmalade, which helps the final golden cake to retain a good deal of moistness and adds just the right amount of bitterness to each bite. While you could certainly stop there, serving the warm, buttery cake just as is, the real show stopper comes in the form of the glistening marmalade-based glaze, which you will pour across the cake and watch, with a deep sense of joy and hunger, as some is instantly absorbed into the hot cake and the rest slowly trickles down its sides. A word of caution: eventually, the marmalade glaze will harden into a sort of sugary casement. For that reason, I recommend preparing the cake shortly before serving, as opposed to the day before.
So there you have it my new friends. A great big welcome. A great big thanks. And a great big serving of cake. Thank you for visiting. Feel free to leave a note in the comments section below. I hope our paths will cross again soon!
Orange & Lemon Marmalade Cake
adapted from the New York Times
2/3 cup lemon marmalade, divided
13 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch loaf pan and set aside.
Roughly chop any large chunks of lemon peel in the marmalade. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 12 tablespoons of the butter, the sugar, the lemon zest and the orange zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Beat in 1/3 cup marmalade and the orange juice.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet mixture until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the greased pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and set it right-side up on a drying rack. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1/3 cup marmalade over low heat. When the marmalade is melted (but not burning) whisk in the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing some of it to drizzle down the sides. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.