Seattle has been really, really wet and grey this Winter. This may not come as a surprise because, duh it's Seattle, but this year has been especially dark and wet. Thankfully there's finally light at the end of the rainy tunnel because today is the first day of spring, which means a change of weather is on the horizon. To celebrate the new season I filled my office with bright flowers and decided to bake something special for John and I, which ended up being this gorgeous double citrus cardamom loaf.
Linda Lomelino recently shared a recipe for her Blood Orange & Black Sesame Seed Loaf and I instantly fell in love. Her photography is stunning, but her use of color is what captured my attention. Just looking at her pictures made me so happy that I wanted to keep that feeling alive, so I gathered my ingredients and made a slightly adapted version of her loaf.
Orange, lemon, and cardamom are the three main flavors you'll find in this loaf, and they all compliment each other beautifully. As you look over the recipe there is one step that may be new to you, as it was to me, and that is to rub the orange zest into the sugar before adding it to the butter. I picked up this tip from Yosi Arefi's book, Sweeter of the Vine, and I do it every time I add citrus zest to my baked goods. I really love this extra step because rubbing the zest into the sugar further infuses the citrus oil which increases its flavor presence in this recipe. By no means does it make the orange flavor overwhelming, instead it makes it more present, which is exactly what I love about this loaf.
While it may not feel like spring for a while in Seattle, at least I know I can bring that spring-time feeling indoors by surrounding myself with bright colors and flavorful treats like this loaf which are great reminders of what's to come.
Happy first day of spring!
Double Citrus Loaf
slightly adapted from Linda Lomelino
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cardamon
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 1/2 stick softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 scant tablespoon finely grated blood orange zest
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tbs milk
1/3 cup fresh blood orange juice
Equipment: 9x5 inch loaf pan, handheld or standing mixer fitter with paddle attachment
Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan; tap out any excess flour.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom until combined; set aside.
In another bowl add the sugar and orange zest and begin to rub with your fingers until fragrant and the zest has been incorporated into the sugar. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Add the flour mixture, blood orange juice and milk in additions to the butter mixture and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top, and place on the lower oven rack. Bake the loaf for about 75 minutes, but Linda mentions that its best to start checking around 60 minutes. She also suggests to cover the top of the loaf with foil if the loaf is getting too much color.
Remove the loaf from the oven when a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool for about 15 minutes, then invert on to a rack to cool completely.
Once completely cooled, top with glaze and enjoy.
Meyer Lemon Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs Meyer lemons
Zest of one small Meyer lemon
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. If the texture seems too thick, add a little more lemon juice. Alternatively, is a thicker texture is desired simply add more powdered sugar.