Add some zest to your dessert table with the perfect orange delight! Creamy, dense pound cake meets tangy ribbons of orange curd in this charming, fan-favorite sweet dish. Lightly adapted from Allrecipes.
Every once in a while, you find a dessert recipe that reminds you irresistibly of someone you know and love. For me, this beautiful, bright Orange Curd Pound Cake is 100% Rae.
Rae and I first met years ago at DreamWorks, back when I had just started my fourth year of grad school and she was managing global digital marketing campaigns for DWA. Every day that summer, I rode two and a half hours on three separate buses to show up for work at before 8, where I heaped (mercifully free!) scrambled eggs and toast from the commissary onto my tray before trundling upstairs to my desk for the start of a bleary-eyed new work day.
Usually I’d be the first one there, sitting at my desk half a building away from the rest of my team. Some mornings I’d poke my head into offices to see who had arrived or what needed doing; sometimes hours would pass before the rest of my team members checked in with me. And then there was Rae.
Rae is the kind of person who makes you feel like you could climb Mt. Everest tomorrow if you felt like it, just because she believes in you that much. She displays a calm, quiet demeanor that belies her fervid passion for her work and friends; balanced by her realism and natural empathy, I often find her advice more reassuring than Xanax and therapy miniature horses combined.
That summer, she was the one who sat me down and patiently showed me editing tricks while I fumbled my way through Photoshop for the first time. When I pitched ideas for our upcoming Penguins of Madagascar campaign, she became my biggest advocate, making sure that my ideas found a voice with our studio leaders–and absolutely beaming with pride when we launched the campaign to over 1 million fans worldwide.
I’ve always looked up to Rae as a mentor, but as we’ve grown closer over the years, she has become so much more. She is a confident, a peer, and a true friend. As fate would have it, we’re now close neighbors, too–and while we’ve both had our share of ups and downs recently, a visit to Rae’s always leaves a bright spot of sunshine in my day, no matter what else is happening.
That’s why, after I posted this recipe for Orange Curd Cheesecake Coffee Crumb Cake a few months ago, I knew that I wanted to reserve the remaining curd for today’s extra special recipe: Orange Curd Pound Cake. Like Rae, this dessert is the perfect balance of sunshiney citrus notes and sweet, subtle comfort.
And of course, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share this cake with its inspiration? I’m happy to report that Rae (who’s a fruit dessert lover) is indeed a fan: in her own words, “Holy smokes…This cake is sooo friggin delicious!!! We should’ve just gone straight to you and had this cake for dinner. Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!” (Love you, lady!)
So there you have it. If you know someone bright, wonderful, and caring like Rae, please make sure you show them your gratitude this holiday season with a big ol’ slice of this Orange Pound Cake!
For the orange curd:
- 2 large Navel oranges
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter
- Additional lemon juice, to taste
For the pound cake:
- 1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
- 3 cups white sugar
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
To make orange curd:
- Zest oranges (you should have ~2 tablespoons of orange zest) and then juice them (~2/3 cup fresh orange juice). To make things easier, you can also microwave your oranges for 15 seconds before zesting and juicing.
- In a large, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine zest, juice, sugar, and eggs.
- Bring a pot of water to a simmer over medium-low heat, then place bowl on top. (It should fit snugly--this will serve as your double-boiler.) Whisk mixture constantly for 3-5 minutes; it should begin to thicken very slightly.
- Add butter, then continue cooking and whisking constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without dripping off. Turn off heat and allow curd to cool to room temperature.
- Set aside 1/2 cup curd for this cake recipe. Store any unused curd in a clean jar and refrigerate for up to 7-10 days.
To make pound cake:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan, then set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add sugar, then beat mixture until light and flurry.
- Add eggs two at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
- Fold in flour and salt until just incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
- Pour half of mixture into prepared pan, then spoon curd on dollops on top. Cover with remaining cake batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 60-80 minutes.* Allow cake to cool completely before running a hot knife lightly around the edges, then inverting carefully onto a serving platter. Slice and serve!
*Baking time will vary based on your oven circulation--starting at the 1-hour mark, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake to check for doneness, and check again every 5-7 minutes. Toothpick should come out mostly clean with moist crumbs clinging to it.