Homegrown Oranges and Orange Cake

I stayed here in Palo Alto for Christmas, and my housemates and I made as special Christmas dinner. I was in charge of the dessert, and I made an orange cake from The Moosewood Cookbook. The recipe required orange juice and orange zest. I hadn’t planned to make this cake until the morning of Christmas when most stores were closed.

Fortunately, we have a navel orange tree in our backyard!

The oranges are just about ripe, and I was able to find two ripe ones for the recipe.

One thing that amazes me about growing oranges is that they look just like the oranges you would get from the grocery store! Maybe this shouldn’t come as such a surprise, but homegrown apples and pears are always smaller and have more blemishes than apples and pears in the grocery store, and I guess I expected the same types of defects with oranges.

On the flip side, the flavor of these oranges was fine, but nothing special — exactly like what you would get at the store, despite being freshly plucked off the tree.

Here’s the finished cake:

It was a very nice cake, but not as “orangey” as I was hoping…you really had to squint to taste the orange in it, and perhaps use a bit of imagination.

Nate Makes Persimmon Bread!

I have a regular posting schedule of every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, but going forward, in addition to those regular posts, I’d like to occasionally post short little snippets here and there. This is one of them.

With some of the persimmons Nate took home, he made a persimmon bread!

He got the recipe from the Proportional Plate blog. He made a couple of modifications: he used Fuyu instead of Hachiya persimmons, and he didn’t use as much sugar (1/2 c instead of 3/4 c). He said it turned out ok, but he should have given it more time in the oven. Also, even after cutting back on the sugar, it was still very sweet. If he makes it again, he’d try making it without any sugar at all. The decorative persimmons on top are a nice touch, though. If you cut them horizontally, the have a pretty star pattern.