If you have an open mind, marmalade can be one of the most versatile pantry staples. On the savory side, it garnishes root vegetable soup (it’s terrific with celeriac) and glazes roast chicken. On the sweet side, it makes a swell ingredient in stuffed crepes and cakes.
Oh, I can make, and do make, fussy frosted layer cakes, and luscious glazed cakes turned out of tube pans. But I greatly prefer my repertoire of what I call “amiable cakes,” simple loaves of pound cake or fruited cakes in nine-inch rounds. All summer long, seasonal fruit becomes enveloped in the delicate crumb of a simple cake. In the winter and spring, citrus is the focus.
This one from Dorie Greenspan is called “French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze” in Baking From My Home to Yours. She uses lemon zest and lemon marmalade but I use orange zest and my “Minnie Marmalade,” made from Minneola oranges. The original recipe, which has been widely published, including in the New York Times, uses a large loaf pan. I prefer two 7½-x-3½-inch loaf pans, which cook in much less time and yield a more reasonably sized slice.
This is a great make-ahead cake for a party. Plated side by side on a flat rectangular platter and surrounded with strawberries in summer or ivy leaves in winter, it’s festive fare for any season.
Marmalade Loaf Cake adapted from Dorie Greenspan
1 c all-purpose flour
½ c ground almonds or almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 c sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
½ c plain yogurt
3 large eggs
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ c flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
Glaze: ½ c orange marmalade (plus 1 tsp water if needed)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter two 7½-x-3½-inch loaf pans or one 8½-x-4½-inch loaf pan.
Whisk together flour, ground almonds or almond meal, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a medium bowl, rub together the sugar and orange zest until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla and whisk until the mixture is well blended. Whisk in the dry ingredients. With a large spatula, fold in the oil. Pour the batter into the loaf pans, smoothing the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes for 7½-x-3½-inch loaves and 50-55 minutes for a 8½-x-4½-inch loaf, until the cake is golden brown and beginning to come away from the sides of the pan. A cake tester or trussing needle inserted in the middle should come out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife along the edges to make sure the cake is not stuck to the sides of the pan and unmold. Cool right side up on a rack.
Warm the marmalade in a small pan over low heat until liquefied, adding a teaspoon of water if needed. Gently brush the marmalade on top of the cake.