Recipe: Orange Cardamom Loaves

Guess what time it is?! It's Fall Baking Time. Yes, those vanity capitals are on purpose. I love it when the chill in the air "forces" me to start baking. It's too warm for a fire in the wood stove, but too cold to not want it warmed up just a little bit.

Plus the plethora of fall baking ingredients: fresh pears, pumpkin and all of the other "fall" stand-bys. I picked up a baking magazine the other day, an overpriced one that cost about the same as a trade paperback book *winces*, because I wanted to make just about every recipe in it.

The first recipe I attempted was Orange Cardamom Bread for a bake sale fundraiser. The recipe makes 2 loaves: one for me, one for the sale ;) While I liked it a lot, I could not taste the cardamom. So I fiddled with the levels a bit and found a balance between spicy and orange-y. The real sneaky part about this bread is that because cardamom enhances the orange flavor, you really aren't going to get much straight flavor except as an end note. 

Orange-Cardamom Loaves
Adapted from Taste of the South: Fall Baking

Yield: 2 (8x4inch) loaves

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil (do not use any strongly flavored oil like Canola etc)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Orange Glaze (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 (8 x4 inch) loaf pans with nonstick baking spray with flour. Set aside. [I did not have spray with flour. The first time, the bottom stuck like crazy. The second batch, I sprayed with the non-flour spray then placed a small strip of parchment paper on the bottom. Problem solved]

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. [I never sift, so instead, I use a wire whisk to mix the dry ingredients.]

3. In another medium bowl, beat sugar, milk, oil, eggs, zest, vanilla and cardamom at medium speed with an electric mixer until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until smooth. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

4. Bake 30 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes more.

5. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle with Orange Glaze. Let glaze set completely before slicing.

Orange Glaze

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup fresh orange juice

1. In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and orange zest and juice until smooth.

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