They really are here — our last moments of the year 2012. So many things have happened this year that I have a feeling I may have lost count of them all. Here I sit, on our new couch in our new home, waiting to bid this year farewell with my new husband. What a crazy whirlwind those three hundred and sixty-six days have been.
I keep thinking back to all the things we did in 2012 and just can’t get over the fact that there was so much we accomplished from the first day of January to now. I finished two years(!) of French in eight weeks and inched this much closer to finishing my degree (and with the way my grades are going, cum laude no less(!)). Mike found a job that he loves and lets us do fancy things like buying IKEA furniture for the bedroom and going out for foie gras on New Year’s Eve.
Most important of all, Mike and I both stood before our friends, family and cake and promised to love each other forever. We got married!
So here we are, in the threshold leading to another new year, full of hope and anticipation that the next three hundred and sixty-five days will be even more wonderful. Wherever you are or whatever you may face in 2013, I hope you will be well.
Glazed Clementine Orange Cake
Satsuma oranges are used in the book’s original recipes but any small and thin-skinned citrus will be great here. I had clementines left over from Christmas, but tangerines or even small-ish navel oranges will work just dandy. The recipe also calls for semolina flour — which I didn’t have on hand so I substituted almond meal for added texture and flavor. In a pinch, you could also use cornmeal or even just all-purpose flour.
Adapted from Cooking in The Moment by Andrea Reusing
For the glazed oranges:
6 thin-skinned clementines, preferably organic (See headnotes)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the cake:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup semolina flour (See headnotes)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Make the glazed oranges: Finely grate the zest of one of the citrus fruits, and reserve the zest for the cake batter. Cut the citrus fruit in half, juice it, and strain the juice; you should have 1/3 cup juice. (If you have an unusually small fruit, you may need a second citrus to yield sufficient juice. So be it.)
- Slice the remaining citrus fruits into very thin rounds— not paper thin but not more than 1/4 inch thick. Remove and discard any seeds.
- Combine the orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and orange slices in a medium nonreactive saucepan over low heat and bring to a slow simmer. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, until the peels are tender and the centers of the orange slices are starting to become tender and translucent but are not falling apart. If the peels aren’t yet tender enough to cut with a fork, keep simmering until they are. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the orange slices to a plate. Continue to simmer the syrup until it has reduced to 1/2 cup, anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes, depending on how long you simmered the orange slices and the size of your pan. Set aside.
- Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 9- or 10-inch springform cake pan.. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until fluffy. While the mixer is running, add an egg and wait for it to be incorporated before adding the other. Add the grated orange zest reserved from the glaze and combine.
- In a bowl, sift together the semolina flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, to the batter mixture and mix until all of it is incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and arrange the orange slices in one layer on top of the batter, allowing the excess glaze to drip from the slices. Reserve the remaining glaze. (You may have some extra citrus slices; this is intentional, as some of the slices may fall apart during simmering. Just nibble them as-is or drizzle them with melted chocolate and then nibble them.)
- Bake the cake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (176°C) and bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes more, for a total of 50 to 55 minutes, until the cake is an even golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack until warm, not hot. Then, using a wooden skewer, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. Brush the remaining glaze over the top using a pastry brush. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature on a wire rack before unmolding.