Just because it is Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mean you should feel cornered into buying up roses and chocolate candies for your Honey. I say make this cake from the heart; filled with red candies and nuts (because you are nuts about your sweetheart) and before ladling the orange sugar glaze, pour some rum over the top. Because booze is romantic, right? Who is to judge you? Who is to say no? NO ONE. (It’s ok, I’ll avert my gaze as you take a shot of the rum before pouring it on the cake.)
This cake is a kind of lovely light cousin to a fruit cake. It is bright with citrus, decadent with dates, chocked full of walnuts, sweet with cherries and all delivered to your happy mouth in a blanket of cakey goodness. I imagine it would be over the top dreamy with a homemade, lightly sweetened whipped cream with just a whisper of orange zest.
I have to admit I had a bit of trouble with this cake. I made the fatal error of ‘eyeballing’ for doneness and I’ve worn glasses since I was 2, so you can guess how that turned out. Other then the cake falling just a smidge in the middle, it was a beautiful cake when done. As a matter of fact, it was pretty hearty. I mean, it had nuts (protein), cherries and oranges (fruit), dates (fiber) and flour (grains), so it was like having a well-rounded dinner. My recommendation: forgo an expensive Valentine’s meal and make your sweetheart this cake. There is plenty to share and he/she will be super impressed with your baking prowess.
Here is my gorgeous before picture!(Ugh. Looks like Thousand Island Dressing. Just close your eyes and throw it in the oven, but if you are anything like me, when you close your eyes you will inevitably burn yourself on the oven racks, so squint your eyes and throw it in the oven.)
This is what my cake looked like after about 45 minutes: I thought it was done baking. I was very wrong. I did not have toothpicks to test the doneness of the cake. I thought I could eyeball it for doneness. BIG MISTAKE. That is why my cake fell in a perfect ring around the top center. Super disappointing and totally my fault. I did have a flash of brilliance the next morning at about 6am. I could have used a matchstick to test. Dang it all.
Orange (You glad you’re my valentine) Cake
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. soda
- 2 c. sifted flour
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 1 c. dates (chopped)
- 1/2 c. walnuts (chopped)
- 1 jar small marachino cherries (chopped)
- orange zest of one orange
- Cream sugar and butter; add eggs.
- Sift and measure flour, add soda and salt.
- Add alternately with buttermilk and butter mixture.
- Add dates, nuts, cherries and orange rind.
- Mix until well blended.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes in an angel cake pan. (note: make sure to grease and flour your pan first or else the cake will stay in the cake pan forever and you will spend less time going out and buying a new pan then the time you would spend trying to scrape the cake out of the pan.
- Mix 1/4 c. sugar with juice of one orange. Pour over top of cake before taking out of pan.