We just had our citrus season in Florida. I just love the taste and smell of citrus. It’s tangy, sweet and refreshing. When you peel an orange and are met with a light spray of fragrant mist, you know how much flavor and aroma it will impart.
These lovely little cakes are one of the best ways to feature citrus. I adjusted a recipe of America’s Test Kitchen lemon bundt cake and made these incredible mini orange bundt cakes. The light textured cake is so tender with tiny crumb throughout and feels almost feathery. The orange zest perfumes the cake from the inside and in the glaze on the outside.
2-3 Tablespoons orange juice, plus 1/2 Tablespoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
I start this recipe by taking the butter out of the refrigerator and cutting it into Tablespoonful chunks. Set aside. While you are preparing the rest of the ingredients, the butter will come to the perfect temperature. If you have room temperature butter, you don’t need to do this.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside. Zest two oranges. You should take off all of the outer layer of the peel, but not get to the white part, which is bitter. Juice the orange. Set aside 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the zest for the batter and 1/2 Tablespoon for the glaze. Set aside 4 Tablespoons of juice for the batter and 2-3 Tablespoons of juice for the glaze.
Combine the buttermilk, 4 Tablespoons orange juice, 1 1/2 Tablespoons zest and vanilla in a measuring cup. Or a bowl, it’s just much easier to measure and then pour from the same container:). Mix the eggs and yolk in another small bowl just until combined. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar. For my taste, 1 cup of sugar was more than enough. The cake is not very sweet but with the glaze, it has plenty of sweetness. However, if you don’t use the glaze, or just dust with powdered sugar, use 1 1/2 cups of sugar.
Pour in half of the eggs and mix for about 15 seconds, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat with the rest of the eggs. It will look curdled. Don’t worry, when you add the flour it will be fine. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter. Mix just until combined, about 15 seconds. Pour in half of the buttermilk mixture. Mix again. Add half of the remaining flour. Mix. Add the rest of the buttermilk mixture, followed by the rest of the flour mixture.
This is a crucial step. Adding part of the flour to the batter followed by half of the buttermilk mixture, and so on, creates a light even texture for the cake. The texture will be ruined if you don’t do this. The cake will be dense. It is very important not to over mix. With each addition, mix until just barely incorporated. In the end, finish mixing with a rubber spatula.
Spray the bundt cake mold with baking spray or grease with butter and then coat with flour, tapping out excess. Fill the mold 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20-25 minutes. Invert the baked bundt cakes onto a cooling rack. Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking all the ingredients together. Apply glaze while the bundt cakes are still warm, either with a pastry brush or pouring it on, letting excess drip off on the rack. If you have only one pan with 6 mini bundt cakes, refrigerate the dough while waiting for the first batch to bake. Of course, you can bake this as one large bundt cake.