When I was growing up, my mother ordered big boxes of citrus from Florida as Christmas presents to family members. This strikes me as a really ’80s or early ’90s food thing to do, sort of in the same category as raspberry vinaigrette or a big tri-color pasta salad. In any case, now that she’s no longer with us, my stepfather dutifully carries on the tradition. He sent me a big box of honeybells in January. I love citrus in winter, but we couldn’t keep up with 25 pounds of it. So I made marmalade.
(For kicks, here’s a picture of all the stuff I had to shove aside to take the picture of that cake. Bonus points if you can find the mermaid-shaped bottle opener, an Alice Munro book of short stories, and that spray-foam stuff that expands to fill holes.)
The marmalade is totally gorgeous. For such a small batch, I was too lazy to try to slice the orange peel very finely, so I left it intact in big squares. The marmalade is thick with them, and they taste like candy. I cooked it down a lot, too, so the flavor is concentrated and the texture is pretty gelled. It’s jewel-like, and I love just looking at it.
The problem is that we don’t really eat jams and fruit preserves very frequently. So, a cake, one that contains a full cup of marmalade. I think I’d call this a swan song for the type of wintry, pantry-ish stuff that I’m trying really hard not to complain about. We had our first warm, springlike day this week, and I can hardly believe there was still snow on the ground when I baked this loaf over the weekend. Buttery and tangy, the cake is just the thing with a cup of milky tea.
(Annoyingly, I still have a ton of marmalade. I’ve never done the giveaway thing before because it seems gimmicky, but I need to unload a couple of jars. It’s also kind of nice way to keep the sending-someone-citrus love going. So, if you’re interested in a jar of pretty tangelo marmalade, let me know in the comments and I’ll find a way to send some of it out into the world.)
Tomorrow I’m off on work travel—so maybe by the time I get back it will be time for real-deal spring and pictures of seedlings and such. Also, maybe my dining room table will be de-cluttered. One of those things, for sure, although I’d count on inevitable springtime more than the table. Until then.
This is a mash-up of a recipe from Canal House Cooks Every Day and a Melissa Clark NYT recipe, although it’s closer to Clark’s loaf-ish cake. I was not as consistent about measuring weights as I should have been, because the massive amount of marmalade I added was a bit of an approximation.
- 140 grams butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 100 grams (about 1/2 cup) demerara sugar (white granulated will work)
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 full cup marmalade, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 190 grams all-purpose flour, or a mix of up to 50/50 all purpose flour and whole wheat flour (this is about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 30 grams confectioner’s sugar (for glaze)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a loaf pan well.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar with the lemon zest until it’s pale yellow and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well combined. Add 3/4 cup of the marmalade and mix again.
- Now add the dry ingredients. Mix on low until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until the center is no longer jiggly, and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for ten minutes, then turn the loaf pan upside down onto a plate to remove the cake. Flip the cake right-side up. Allow to cool completely. In a small saucepan, combine remaining marmalade and confectioner’s sugar. Whisk quickly over medium heat, thinning with a little water if necessary. Drizzle the thick, glaze-y icing over the top of the cake.