Baking Chez Moi – Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone! Here’s to continuing the march toward equality for all women, across the world and at home.

Baking may not seem like a good fit on a day that’s dedicated to women’s equality, but all the activist and community groups I’ve been part of have fuelled change with agile minds and satisfied stomachs. Even cookbooks have been wielded as tools for change by feminists – suffragists used them to spread their message, filling them with recipes and resistance.

So in this spirit, I think it’s fitting that I’m writing about a cake that begs to be shared. Any group of people who were lucky enough to find this orange cake on their meeting room table might find the fortitude to change the world.

I have a special fondness for orange cake – my grandmother used to make it and it was a favourite for everyone in the family. Unfortunately her recipe is lost to us, so I’ve tried any that I’ve encountered in an attempt to find one that measures up to my memory of hers.

That’s the problem, of course – what can measure up to a treasured memory? So, I just enjoy the orange cakes as they come along, noting down the ones that come close, along with those I appreciate just for themselves.

Odile’s Orange Cake falls into the second category. Though I think my grandmother would have appreciated the orange-y, buttery flavour very much, it’s a cake that’s different in kind than the one she used to make. Hers was moist, with a fine crumb, but also sturdier than this cake. That’s no surprise, since this one is soaked in the syrup used to poach the oranges that decorate it. It’s not just moist, it’s suffused with moisture in the best possible way.

There’s something else that’s different about this cake. I used goat butter to make it. It’s a delicious butter that has a different character than that made from cow’s milk. If you’re interested, Chowhound made a short video on the subject.

This recipe was well worth using my tiny stash of goat butter. And I think that if I bring it to my committee meeting tomorrow night, it might be the perfect way to celebrate solidarity amongst a group of women working to benefit our community.

You can find the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie crew’s entries on this recipe here: Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake.


31 thoughts on “Baking Chez Moi – Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake

  1. I have a sweet tooth and inflating weight…and am struggling hard to regain my basic fitness and health.
    And if I fail, this delightful, delicious and devilish dish will be at complete fault for it ! (If ever I decide to try making it and end up with a yummy creation) 😉
    Thank you for posting

    P.S. Happy Women’s day (Belated)

  2. Great Post Teresa! Love the orange cake though I do hope you can find the precise flavor some time in your future to match that of your grandmother. Happy International Women’s Day!

  3. Wow- goat butter. That is awesome. Fun post all around and so true about memories vs recipes. My own paternal grandmother always said that things “tasted better out” or when someone else is making it. And she wasn’t simply trying to get out of the prep work. Something funny happens when we get that recipe we have longed for and try to recreate it- I guess that is part of the magic. This cake was lovely but I found that it had me longing for a pound cake type citrus cake and I will likely knock one of those out in the near future. And fun info about the suffragette cookbooks. I recall Ina Garten explaining that when she was raised the focus was actually on her educational and her parents basically tried to dissuade her from cooking in the kitchen, so it was something she came to later. Not always an all or nothing proposition in life- we can in fact have careers or “our cake” and eat it too 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Tricia! The suffragette cookbook story tickled me – such a good way to get their message out! And I love that Ina Garten story. I remember getting criticized by a university classmate (male) for getting a really good set of pots for Christmas. He thought it was beneath an educated person. But, those pots were used in many a terrific meal over the next decade, for potlucks and dinner parties with great conversation and intelligent debate. I agree – we can have “our cake” and eat it, too. Nicely put! 🙂

  4. I loved reading your words! And I am glad in the end the cake was worth using up your stash of goat butter. The cake looks wonderful, I can not wait to try this one!

    1. I think it’s well-worth a repeat. But don’t use blood oranges for the batter – someone else posted that it turned their cake green! I’m glad I used Cara Cara for that and saved the blood oranges for the topping.

  5. A delicious looking cake and a great post! I bet your grandmother’s favorite orange cake would have been one made by you. And happy international women’s day to you too.
    Now I’m off to look up goat butter on chowhound.

  6. I enjoyed your post…I think about my Grandma so many times as I am baking through these cookbooks! She would have loved that I was participating in this group and would have loved to hear all about it!!

    1. That’s so true – my grandparents would have loved to be taste-testers for everything I’ve made in the groups I’ve cooked with.

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