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Individual Orange Butter Cakes

Serve these cakes with an orange Muscat wine. With the mellow flavor and delicate scent of apricots and a light almond aftertaste, orange Muscats complement many fruit desserts, including these individual cakes made from fresh orange segments.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oranges
  • 12 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 8
      Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Crème anglaise for serving (see related recipe at
      left)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly butter six 1-cup ramekins or custard cups.

Working with 1 orange at a time, and using a sharp knife, cut a slice off both ends of the orange to reveal the flesh. Stand the orange upright on a cutting board and, using the knife, thickly slice off the peel and pith in strips, following the contour of the fruit. Holding the orange in one hand, cut along either side of each section to release it from the membrane, letting the sections drop into a bowl.

Sprinkle 2 Tbs. of the brown sugar in the bottom of each prepared ramekin. Pour 1 Tbs. of the melted butter into each ramekin, evenly covering the sugar. Divide the orange sections evenly among the ramekins, placing them in a single layer. Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the 8 Tbs. (1 stick) butter, the granulated sugar and orange zest. Beat on medium-high speed until creamy.Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the cream and vanilla until thoroughly incorporated. Spoon the batter over the oranges, dividing it evenly among the ramekins.

Bake until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

Run a knife blade around the edge of each cake to loosen it from the ramekin. Working with 1 cake at a time, invert a small dessert plate over the ramekin, then invert the ramekin and plate in a single quick motion. Lightly tap the bottom of the ramekin with the handle of the knife to loosen the cake, then lift off the ramekin. If any orange sections stick to the ramekins, use the knife tip to loosen them and replace them on the cakes. Serve the cakes warm or at room temperature with the crème anglaise poured over the top. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, by George Dolese (Oxmoor House, 2004).