A Loaf of Vitamin C: The Barefoot Contessa’s Orange Pound Cake

“Loaf” is the name of the imaginary booth I want to open at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. There I would sell all sorts of cakes baked in loaf pans: Amanda Hesser’s Vanilla Bean loaf, The River Cafe’s Pistachio Loaf Cake, their Pine Nut Loaf Cake, the Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Pound Cake and this Orange Pound Cake. Won’t you buy a slice and help me stay in business?


Sometimes my dreams are haunted by Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa). I imagine that one day she discovers the internet, loads up my website and sees that I’ve given away 88% of all of her recipes. My legal education makes me fairly confident that the rule “you can’t copyright the recipe, only the articulation of the recipe” would keep me safe from her clutches; but her husband teaches at Harvard Law. He’d have me for lunch.

But now that I have this “Click To Keep Reading” thing in place, I imagine that Ina’s not clicking below. So I can share the recipe here on the D.L. I’ll use my own words, though, just in case. Except for the ingredient list. That’s hard to put in your own words.

This makes two loaves.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup grated orange zest (6 oranges)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

TO GLAZE ONE LOAF (optional):

1 cup confectiner’s sugar, sifted

1 1/2 Tbs freshly squeezed orange juice.

Here are all my orange ingredients in place:


(The juice in the measuring cup is for the batter and the juice in the bowl is for the glaze.)

Ok. So now in my own words I will tell you to heat the oven to 350 and grease and flour two loaf pans. (I used Pam with Flour and that was fine.) Ina tells you to line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Then you cream the butter and 2 cups of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle for 5 minutes (or until it’s fluffy). Put the mixer on medium and add the eggs one at a time and then add the orange zest which’ll make the thing zesty.

Sift the flour, baking powder, soda and salt into a lage bowl. In another bowl you mix 1/4 cup of the orange juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and the buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide between the two pans, smooth the tops…


and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.


Because my tendency is to underbake things, I let this one bake 55 minutes and it came out a little dry. But don’t underbake either or it’ll be gummy.

Once out of the oven, cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on to a rack. Here you will glaze with an orange syrup you made while it was baking.

You make this syrup by cooking the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup orange juice in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Spoon onto the cakes until the syrup’s gone and then let the cakes cool completely.

Once they’re cool, make the glaze. The glaze is only good for one so wrap one of the cakes in plastic and put in the freezer for future use. Then take 1 cup of confectioners sugar, sift it and add about 2 Tbs of orange juice and whisk until it’s a runny gooey glaze. Drizzle on top of the cake and you’re done!

Now you can cut yourself a slice:


Mmm! It’s tart, buttery, orangey and still warm from the oven. Eat the rest over the week or slice it up the next morning and bring to school to impress your friends. My classmates devoured this Wednesday morning. Will yours?

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