A wonderfully rich, orange-flavored, moist old-fashioned cake, its sweet, nourishing, heavy, and oily properties are best for Vata and Pitta. Dates add to the elegant heaviness of this cake, but currants or raisins give it a little more delicacy. Be sure to use just the zest, the orange-colored part of the peel.
Makes one 9-inch tube cake or 2 loaves
Zest of3 oranges
1 cup chopped dates, raisins, or currants
1 cup sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter 6 tablespoons plain yogurt 1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons water
FOR THE ORANGE MARINADE
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Grease a 9-inch tube pan or 2 loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. In a food processor or blender grind the orange peel and the dates together until they are chopped fine. Cream the sugar and the butter together. Add the yogurt, the buttermilk, and the vanilla and mix thoroughly. Fold in the fruit. Mix the dry ingredients separately and stir into the butter mixture. Finely grind the nuts and the water together and fold into the batter. Pour into pan(s). Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the cake tests done inserting a toothpick or a wooden skewer into the center. Do not open the oven before 40 minutes are up to check. This is one of those cakes that collapses if bothered too early. Let the cake stand for 15 minutes before removing it.
3. While the cake is baking mix the orange marinade. In a small pan heat and stir the marinade ingredients over a moderate flame until the sugar is dissolved. Then slowly pour the marinade over the cake a tablespoon at a time. Prick the cake all over with a long, thin skewer to let the marinade penetrate the cake. Cover the cake and set it aside until it is completely cool. Serve with softly whipped cream.