Friday, March 6, 2015
Orange tea bread
Some of the best recipes are the simplest ones. Do you agree? It's just nice to have some recipes you can return to again and again, knowing they will always turn out. It's even better when you can add your own twists to them and they still work well. Such is the case with a lemon tea bread recipe I've had for a long time. In my kitchen, it has also been an orange tea bread, a lime tea bread and even an almond tea bread. It's an easy recipe, using basic ingredients and it makes a beautiful, rich tea loaf no matter how I flavor it.
I've had the recipe a long time; it came from Southern Living, I think. It's very similar to a recipe I remember in my mother's Good Housekeeping cookbook. You had to prick it all over with a wooden skewer after baking, then you poured a thick syrup made from lemon juice and sugar over the whole thing, letting it soak into the cake. It tasted good but it could became very soggy. My newer recipe has icing, made with juice and powdered sugar, drizzled over the top of the cake. It hardens and doesn't soak in. For a fancy final touch, fruit zest is mixed with granulated sugar and sprinkled over the icing, where it sparkles prettily.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon (orange) zest, divided
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons (or more) lemon (orange) juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Beat softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating at low speed just until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon rind. Spoon batter into greased and floured 8- x 4-inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
Stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth; spoon evenly over top of bread, letting excess drip down sides. Stir together remaining 1 tablespoon lemon rind and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; sprinkle on top of bread.
I baked a loaf of orange tea bread last week during my morning at home alone. It was cloudy and cold outside, the sky threatening snow (and snow it did, later that night, in unusual quantity). I donned my apron and turned on the radio. I sipped my tea as I worked. While the cake baked, I retired to the living room, turning on the radio in there to the same station. I sat in my chair in front of the window and worked on my sampler, stitching until it was time to get up and test the cake. When it was cooled, I made the icing and the zest topping and adorned the cake. Then I made a fresh cup of tea and cut myself a slice, placing it on a real china plate. I ate my cake in the living room, flouting my own household rule and feeling surpassingly good about it.