Make the most of the citrus season with this crazy delicious and incredibly moist orange bread (thanks to the fresh orange syrup)! It is also really easy to make and uses staple ingredients found in most pantries.
But up until now, winter has been very underrepresented. Which is a shame because there is such a wonderful bounty of citrus flavors to enjoy in winter.
I love the bright flavors and colors of citrus. Especially oranges and clementines, which is why this recipe has a full cup of orange juice – not to mention all the zest in the bread and syrup (part of what makes it so incredibly moist)!
Now is the perfect time to make use of all the fresh oranges you can get by baking this bread to brighten up those gray winter days. I bet there is even someone in your neighborhood that is just desperate to give away oranges from their tree.
The Benefits of Fresh Citrus
As well as an amazing flavor, oranges give you a solid dose of vitamin C to boost your immune system and keep away the winter illnesses. Fresh orange juice contains 125mg of vitamin C per cup – about twice the daily intake needed for adults.
So, you should be eating half a loaf of orange bread per day! Just joking. But there are some studies that show drinking orange juice every day increases the level of vitamin C in your blood which is important for your immune and nervous systems. I can’t think of anything better than getting my vitamins in such a tasty way.
Making Orange Bread is Easy
One of the best things about fruit loaves is how simple they are. For this recipe, you need a grand total of 1 bowl, 1 saucepan, and 1 loaf pan. Plus a few utensils of course, but only enough to cause a couple minutes’ worth of dishwashing. Limiting dishwashing is a top priority for me when choosing any recipe!
The most advanced skill you need to make this bread is zesting the oranges. That’s it. And there are several ways to do so, depending on the tools you have.
With grater: Using the zesting plane or small holes on a grater – or most ideally, a microplane – you can get nice, small pieces of zest with very little pith. This is perfect for the interior of the bread where large pieces would interrupt that wonderfully moist, melt in your mouth texture.
With a citrus zester: These very specific tools typically have five holes and make beautiful, thin curls of orange zest that are perfect for the syrup and resting on top of the bread. But don’t despair if you don’t have one, you can also make lovely long threads of zest with…
A paring knife: With a small knife you can slice very thin layers of zest from the oranges, trying to get as little of the bitter, white pith as possible. Then each layer can be sliced into thin strands to infuse in the syrup and top the bread with a pile of bright zest for an extra burst of orange flavor.
So what are you waiting for? Use those fresh winter oranges while they are at their best flavor! Make this vibrantly colorful and flavorful orange bread to chase away any winter blues.
Orange Cake with Fresh Orange Syrup
For the bread:
- 4 oz. (113g) butter , softened to room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- zest from 1 orange
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the orange syrup:
- zest of 1 orange , thinly sliced (or grated)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the orange zest and beat for 1 minute more. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Stir in vanilla extract. With a mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the orange juice and beat for 1 more minute. The mixture may appear curdled, but that is OK.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, then gently fold them in with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
The orange syrup:
- Put orange zest, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrup slightly thickens.
- As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, prick the surface with a thin skewer and pour half the syrup over the top. Allow it to soak in and cool. Take the bread out of the pan and drizzle with remaining syrup.