My parents bake cookies and brownies and bars and give a huge plate to our local police and fire departments twice a year — at the holidays and on the anniversary of 9/11.
This past Christmas, A.J. and I rode in the car to help deliver the giant, overflowing plates.
I think it’s one of the kindest things ever. I don’t know if people send baked good to the police and fire departments often, but I do know that the people accepting the items are usually surprised and appreciative.
I don’t have my life together enough to plan deliveries on specific days, but I did bake a cake for my local police department the other day.
The fire department is next, I promise.
I made an orangey buttermilk bundt cake for the police department adapted from Ina Garten’s orange pound cake.
Ina’s recipe is for two 8 1/2-by-3 5/8-by-2 5/8-inch loaf pans, which hold six cups each of batter. A 10-inch bundt pan holds 12 cups of batter, so there was no conversion needed.
(Sidebar: I have this awesome Family Circle chart that talks about the various volumes of baking pans, and it’s one of the most useful things ever. It appeared in the March 10, 1998 edition of Family Circle, and my grandma had saved it in one of her cookbooks.)
I started by zesting and then juicing a ton of oranges.
Then I creamed some butter and sugar together in my stand mixer.
I added my eggs one at a time.
And then folded in all my orange zest.
In a separate bowl, I sifted flour, baking soda and baking powder together and then stirred in some coarse sea salt with a fork.
In another separate bowl, I combined some orange juice, buttermilk and vanilla.
I added half the flour mixture and mixed, all of the buttermilk mixture and mixed, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
This all went into the greased bundt pan and into the oven.
While the cake was baking, I made a syrupy mixture to go on top the cake, by heating some orange juice and cane sugar on the stove until it reduced and thickened.
When the cake was ready, I pulled it out of the oven and flipped it out on a baker’s rack sitting in a metal tray.
While the cake was still warm, I poured the syrup over top of it, and then let the cake cool completely before slicing it, and packaging it up for delivery!
ORANGEY BUTTERMILK BUNDT CAKE (adapted from Ina Garten):
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups cane sugar, divided into two cups and 1/2 cup
the zest of 6 good-sized oranges
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided into 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and all sides of a bundt pan heavily.
Cream the butter and two cups of the sugar with an electric mixer or standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then fold in the orange zest.
In a separate, large, mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add in the salt and combine with a fork.
In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the orange juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter and mix. Add the buttermilk mixture slowly while the mixer is on and then add the rest of the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out with just a few crumbs.
While the cake is baking, cook the remaining sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly.
When the cake is done, let cool for 5 minutes. Then, turn out on a baker’s rack set over a rimmed tray. Pour the orange syrup over the cake and allow to cook completely before slicing and serving.
Printable recipe here.