The logistics of how it happened are almost irrelevant. Maybe there were no logistics. Maybe it was just pure luck, or happenstance, or, on the other side of the coin, the other guys’ back luck coming into play at the worst possible time. Like I said, it doesn’t matter, really. What matters is that the San Francisco Giants are in the World Series, and now, because who knows how they managed to come back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit many, many times over, I can’t stop making black and orange foods because What If. What if the black and orange foods were the missing piece of the puzzle? Do you see what I am getting at here? I can’t stop now.
And so I continue. Today’s installment in the veritable cornucopia of evidence that I’ve compiled for the case against my sanity is a dense, intensely chocolaty little number that is flecked with orange zest and plumped up with orange juice. It’s a meet-up of those friendly flavors, chocolate and orange, and, once again, an entry into that familiar category of bread-or-cake. Not that it matters what you call it, of course. I mean, aside from delicious.
You can, of course, make this bread as depraved as you want. Depending on how rich and aggressive you like your chocolate treats, there is nothing stopping you from adding a handful of chopped bittersweet chocolate to the batter. If you are truly batty for the combination of chocolate and orange, you could also hunt down the ubiquitous holiday chocolate orange, chop it up, and throw in some bits for an even stronger kick of chocolate plus orange. However, I think this bread/cake is just perfect as it stands, with a deep chocolate flavor that is merely highlighted by the brightness of zesty orange. As for whether or not it can supply the same good fortune as black and orange foods of past? Well, we’ll find out in just a few short hours.
Last Year: Creamy Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa (seriously–I have dreams about this salsa, it’s so good)
Chocolate Orange Cake Bread Recipe
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup Dutch process cocoa
1 tablespoon espresso powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9” by 5” loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the vegetable oil until ingredients are uniformly coated by the oil. The mixture will look quite pebbly, but that is all right.
In a large measuring cup or a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, orange juice, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, whisking slowly until the mixture is just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake in center of oven for 65 to 75 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then run a small knife around the perimeter of the cake to help release it from the pan. Turn pan over and gently invert cake out onto a wire rack, then turn cake upright and leave on wire rack to cool completely.
When cake has cooled, prepare glaze by combining ingredients in a small bowl and whisking until smooth. Pour or brush glaze over the top of the cooled cake.
Makes 1 9″ by 5″ loaf. Serves 8 to 10.