Sometime, one needs to bring some colour into one’s wintry life.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the winter. Mostly. I love the feeling of being tightly ensconced in the house, with nothing to do but make gurgling, hearty soups and puffy muffins that you have no choice but to slather in butter.
But sometimes, even I need to inject some colour into winter’s canvas. And it’s at times like these that I turn to all those summer berries, packed safely away in my freezer. In the midst of July and August’s unbearable humidity, while others are hugging their air conditioners, I’m scouring Toronto’s farmer’s markets for lovely berries. And then I come home, wash them and freeze them for those long, cold winter days when I need a hit of colour.
This has become one of my very favourite cakes to make. Feel free to make it in summer with fresh berries, but it works brilliantly with frozen. It’s orangey and pretty, and a reminder that for those of us that are cold-bound for a few more months at least, a warmer season is always around the corner.
Orange Bumbleberry Cake
Adapted from Another Cup of Sugar by Anna Olson.
Note: I usually bake this cake in a 12-cup capacity Bundt pan. On this occasion I decided to bake it in a baby bundt pan. You can use any combination of berries you like. This cake will serve 10 to 12.
For the cake:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-2/3 cup sugar
- 2 to 3 tbsp. grated orange zest (the original cake uses lemon zest)
- 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake and pastry flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2/3 cup frozen raspberries
- 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
- 2/3 cup frozen strawberries (cut into small pieces)
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
For the mascarpone drizzle (optional):
- 1/4 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp. heavy cream (you may need a bit more)
- 2 tbsp. icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12-cup capacity Bundt or cake pan.
- Combine the whole milk and the freshly squeezed orange juice (this will sour the milk to create the same effect as buttermilk … alternatively you can use a 3/4 cup buttermilk). Set aside.
- Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar on medium speed until fluffy (2 to 3 minutes).
- Add the zest and vanilla extract and mix for another minute on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well on medium speed.
- Alternating the flour mixture and the milk/orange mixture, add them to the batter beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Don’t over mix the batter.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Combine your berries in a bowl and sprinkle on a few tablespoons of flour. Mix the berries with the flour. This will prevent the berries from sinking to the bottom of your cake.
- Gently fold the berries into the batter and then spoon the batter into the pan.
- Bake the cake for an hour, and then check for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester by piercing the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake for an additional 5 minutes and then test again.
- Remove the cake from the oven and poke holes in the top. Set the cake on a rack to cool.
- In a small pan, combine the orange juice and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir to ensure that the sugar has dissolved. Let boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the glaze from the heat and pour over the top of the cake.
- Let the cake cool in the pan and then unmold.
- In a bowl, combine the mascarpone, cream and icing sugar. Mix to form a loose icing or glaze. You should be able to drizzle it easily over the cake. If it’s too thick, add a bit more cream.