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7.31.2006

Orangette turns two

Hooooo boy. I just don’t know where the time goes. You wake up one morning, start a blog, and all of a sudden, two years have gone by. It makes me feel a little like my mother, who greets my birthday each year with the same slightly bewildered question: “How can it possibly be that my daughter is [insert ever-increasing number here] years old?” I mean, really, people, how can it possibly be that my Orangette is two years old? I tell you, I just don’t know where the time goes.

This sort of occasion seems to call for a new unit of measurement, something more expressive than boring old calendar days. They’re too intangible, anyway. They don’t mean much. You know, I hardly even remember the day when I sat down and started this site. I had only moderately lofty goals and slightly shimmery dreams: I wanted a place to write and a few readers to keep me accountable, that’s all. But what I got was something much better than that, something with a life of its own, and a big, happy, lusty one at that. I got stories—two hundred or so, thus far, and a few more up my sleeve. I got an easy excuse for long afternoons at the stove, and for tearing through bags of flour and sugar faster than should be allowed by state law. I got you and you and you, dear readers, new names and faces and friends. Hell, I even got a fiancé. Talk about hooooo boy.

Put that way, this site feels much older than her years—and gladly so. Thank you, all of you, for making it fly by so fast, and for making it so, so fun.


Blackberry Brûlée
Inspired by Saveur, June/July 2006


I was up in Bellingham this past weekend with Brandon, celebrating our negative-first anniversary—one year till our wedding, get it?—when I remembered Orangette’s birthday, which, by complete, utter, and mind-boggling coincidence, is the same date as our wedding: July 29. [We didn’t plan it this way, I promise.] I’m pretty bad with birthdays, I guess. But this dish, which we had whipped up the night before, seems as fitting and celebratory a birthday offering as any, especially for a late-July baby.

For those of us in the Pacific Northwest, where blackberry bushes are standard-issue backyard shrubs and common roadside attractions, it’s high berry season. Nearly everywhere you look, there’s a little cluster of purply-black orbs just waiting to be picked. The berries for this dish came from our own backyard, in fact, and from a bush that we only noticed a week or so ago. [Suffice it to say that it will never go unnoticed again!] It’s a classic berries-and-cream number, but better, because the cream has been whipped and sweetened—and then brûléed. Served heaped in a single bowl, family-style, it looks like a series of soft little mountain peaks—baby Mount Rainiers, maybe—capped with caramelized sugar instead of snow. Cool and lightly sweet, airy and rich, it’s one of the few things that’s better than a plain blackberry eaten straight from the bush. It’s eminently worthy of a birthday.


1 cup heavy cream
6 Tbs superfine sugar
3 – 3 ½ cups fresh blackberries, gently rinsed and dried on paper towels
2-3 Tbs demerara or other raw cane sugar

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add half of the superfine sugar, and beat very briefly to combine. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining superfine sugar until well combined. Add the blackberries, and fold gently to mix.

Carefully scoop and scrape the blackberry mixture into a 9-inch pie plate or serving dish of similar size. Liberally sprinkle the top with demerara sugar. Using a kitchen torch, evenly caramelize the sugar until it turns bubbly and golden brown in some spots. [Pay no attention to the color or evenness of the brûléed spots in the photo above. Our torch started to run out of fuel, so our brûléing job was pretty weak.] The cream will melt and run a bit under the flame, but don’t worry, that’s good.

Place the brûlée in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to let the sugar harden slightly. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Note: If you find yourself blessed with leftovers, as we did, try sticking the stuff in the freezer. We spooned it into a Tupperware container, pressed a bit of plastic wrap against the surface to keep it from getting icy, put on the lid, and froze it. It doesn’t get smooth like a churned ice cream, but it’s crisp and airy and refreshing. Brandon says that he—gasp!—almost likes it better this way.

7.24.2006

A proper pickle

To some people, a pickle is a pickle is a pickle. I was one of those people until a few months ago. The pickle was the silent partner on a sandwich plate: a little green sidecar, if you will, or the dinghy that floats obediently alongside the ship. It was made of cucumber, supposedly, and still bore the seeds to prove it, albeit now sort of mushy and gelatinous. I usually just pushed it out of the way, unless the plate in question came from my father’s hand, in which case the pickle, I knew, would be a special kind that was cold and crisp and quite tasty, the sort of flavor that gets the salivary glands going. But otherwise, most of the time, a pickle was just a pickle, and nothing to get excited about.

But then along came Brandon, and he brought with him a strange, slightly unnerving need for vinegar. The man craves acidic foods like a person stranded in the desert craves water. His private world is filled, I imagine, with mirages in the shape of vinegar bottles and citrus fruits. When we met, he owned somewhere between 24 and 30 types of vinegar, a fact that he cited quite early in the wooing process, and with no small amount of pride. Today our collective pantry has happily adopted most of them, except a few stragglers that stayed behind with his old housemates in New York. There are balsamics and Sherry vinegars, champagnes and red wines, port vinegars and apple ciders, and in most cases, a few brands and ages of each. Luckily, he uses them in measured quantities for me, but when no one is looking, he’ll sip them from a spoon. For someone with a fine-tuned palate, he takes a very heavy hand to the acid on his plate. I need just enough to kick things into balance, but one seat over, he’s almost slurping at the jar of vinaigrette. And if not that, it’s a tall glass of grapefruit juice, or maybe, lately, a pickle. Or a lot of pickles.

This pickle business started a few months ago on a night out at the Boat Street Café, where we decided to try the signature rotating pickle plate. What arrived looked like a painter’s palette in shades of vinegar and salt: a few strokes of asparagus down the center, a splotch of red peppers, a pink pile of red onions, then golden raisins, button mushrooms, halved shallots, spindly farmstand carrots, cauliflower stained with curry, even prunes and sea beans, each pickle infused with its own herbs and spices. Notably, there was not a single cucumber in sight. A prickly cloud of vinegar hovered over the plate, and smelling it, Brandon looked genuinely moved. Even I got into the spirit, stealing all the prunes and most of the peppers, and putting up a little fork-and-knife fight for the last bit of cauliflower. The word “pickled” feels too dinky to describe what had happened to these vegetables: they were cool to the touch but warmly spiced, with a heady, vaporous flavor that registered sweet and sour at the same time.

But because our wallets do not permit frequent pickle-plate outings, and because Brandon, ahem, requires a regular influx of acids, he started trolling our cookbook shelves, and a week or so ago, the kitchen temporarily became a small-scale pickling plant. For a first go, he tried two varieties: one a Food & Wine recipe using a bunch of sweet baby carrots from our CSA box, and a second from our household standby The Zuni Café Cookbook, a method for pickled red onions with a handful of sweet-hot spices. Both recipes were surprisingly easy and completely painless, save for the hour or so that the house was filled with the sharp smell of hot vinegar, and then, oh, then there were the pickles.



The carrots were just so-so, but the onions were close to transcendent: cold and juicy, with a flavor that—between its many layers of cinnamon, clove, and chile—might best be described as Christmas in July, spicy and sweet. They look soft and bendy, but once between the teeth, they give way with a surprisingly noisy crunch, the calling card of a proper pickle. Straight from the fridge, dredged up with a fork, a few rosy ringlets make a handy remedy for a heat wave, I find, preferably with a tall, curvy glass of wheat beer and a wedge of lemon. Hell, if things continue apace, you might even find me digging for a spoonful of brine—although I’d probably have to fight Brandon for it first.


Pickled Red Onions
Adapted from The Zuni Café Cookbook

This is a very special pickle. There’s no denying that the recipe has a lot of steps, but each of them is easy-peasy, so don’t be tempted to cut corners. The process of repeatedly blanching and cooling ensures that the pickled onions are softened—relaxed, if you will—but still delectably crisp, as a good pickle should be. A few picky notes about ingredients and procedure:

- Use round or flat red onions that feel nice and firm. Do not use torpedo onions, whose layers are too thin to make for a properly crunchy pickle.
- Use a pot made of stainless steel or another non-reactive material, such as anodized aluminum.
- Use wooden spoons. Aluminum would, warns Judy Rodgers, turn the onions an “unappetizing bluish mauve.” Nobody wants to eat a pickle that’s the same color as your grandmother’s bath towels.

Once your pickled red onions are ready, try serving them with a drizzle of good olive oil, which tames their vinegar tang with a lovely, rich finish. We like to eat them as an hors d’oeuvre, with some fresh goat cheese or slices of sharp cheddar and some crackers. They’re also delicious with grilled meats—hamburgers, flank steak, chicken, whathaveyou—and would be killer, I’ll bet, with chicken liver paté.

4 cups distilled white vinegar
Scant 2 cups granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken into a few pieces
4 whole cloves
2 pinches ground allspice
1 small dried chile, broken in half if you prefer a spicier pickle
2 bay leaves
About 20 black peppercorns
1 ½ lb. red onions

In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice, chile, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat.

While the brine is heating, peel and trim the onions. Slice them into rings about 3/8 inch thick. Separate each slice into its individual rings, discarding any thin, leathery outer rings.

When the brine mixture boils, add about 1/3 of the onion rings and stir them under. They will turn hot pink almost immediately. As soon as the brine begins to simmer around the edges, about 20 seconds, stir them under again, and then remove the pot from the heat. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon, tongs, or a spider, and spread them on a platter or rimmed baking sheet to cool. They should still be firm. Repeat with the remaining onions, in two batches.

Once the onions have cooled—you can slip them into the fridge to speed them along—repeat the entire process, again in three batches, two more times, always adding the onions to boiling brine, retrieving them promptly when the brine begins to simmer again, and cooling them completely. [If you are cooling your onions in the fridge, this will not take as long as you think. It’s not so bad.] After the third round of blanching, thoroughly chill the brine. Transfer the onions and brine into jars: we used two quart-size Mason jars, which were each about two-thirds full. The most important thing is that the onions be in a container that allows them to remain submerged in the brine. Store in the refrigerator.

Age the pickles for at least a day before serving. They’re very good after 24 hours, but the flavors will have melded more harmoniously after 48. From there out, it’s delicious all the way.

7.17.2006

Pasta, no pomodoro

At the risk of sounding as though we’re carb-loading over here—which, actually, now that I’ve typed that, sounds like a pretty tasty thing to do—I present you with my second pasta dish in as many posts. I’m having a hot summer fling with Italy, but luckily, Brandon doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, I think he’s happy about it. You will be too, when you taste this.

The dish in question comes not from a cookbook, magazine, or radio show, or from a personal “Eureka!” moment at the stove, but rather from a reader comment on this very site. Last week, in response to my post on rigatoni with various permutations of onion, a very kind and knowledgeable reader named Tony left a comment calling my attention to the (possibly) ancient origins of the dish. I had forgotten that until a few centuries ago, when New World fruits and vegetables began to trickle into Europe, Italy had never seen a tomato, so its pasta sauces and accompaniments were, like last week’s rigatoni, pomodoro-less, with nary a red sauce in sight. To this day, in fact, there remain countless non-tomato sauces, though your neighborhood Italian-American joint would have you believe otherwise. Some sauces are simpler and some more imaginative, some ancient and some new. One is even built, Tony wrote, on a delicate foundation of zucchini blossoms. Lucky for us, Tony then offered a recipe.

And knowing better than to look a gift horse in the mouth—or ignore fate when it appears in the form of a crate of squash blossoms at the Saturday farmers’ market—I stepped up to the stove with Tony’s notes in hand and made a meal so delicious that it shimmied its way, quite irresistibly, into a new post.



From Abruzzo by way of Italian food authority Giuliano Bugialli and one saintly reader of this website, this recipe will henceforth be a permanent resident of our small home in Seattle. Built on the color palette of a Mediterranean summer—all shades of yellow, gold, orange, red, and green—this pasta sauce is unlike anything I had tasted before: delicate but rich, earthy but somehow also ethereal, scented with the dark, floral perfume of saffron. The noodles are barely slicked with reduced broth—almost naked, it seems, until you lean in close and see that they shimmer a little amidst the sweet bits of carrot, onion, celery, and squash blossoms. These last melt into the sauce, giving up their light zucchini flavor, and become almost indiscernible to the eye—a less dramatic presentation than one might hope for, maybe, but still pretty enough to elicit a lot of sighs and plate-scraping around our table.



All of which is to say grazie mille, Tony.


Pappardelle with Zucchini Blossom Sauce
Adapted from Tony and, I think, Giuliano Bugialli’s Bugialli on Pasta

I call for pappardelle here, but you could really use any noodle that you like. I like pappardelle not only because I find it awfully pretty, but because its big, flat, wide shape makes a lovely surface for the light sauce to cling to. I could also envision using rigatoni, or maybe fettucine. Whatever shape you choose, be sure to use a brand that contains eggs. It makes for a sunny color and a flavor that goes well with the sauce. I chose an imported dried brand called La Romagna.

And about the broth: use a good one! What I really want to say is that you should only use homemade—from, say, the chicken stock recipe in the Zuni Café Cookbook—but I know that many of us, myself included, don’t always have time for such things. So if you must use a store-bought broth, be fussy. The canned or boxed stuff will be sub-par here; instead, ask if your local specialty store carries a good frozen or refrigerated stock. The sauce in this dish is made by reducing it, so the better it is, the better your result.

Good-tasting olive oil
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
Leaves from 10 sprigs Italian parsley, finely chopped
12 zucchini blossoms, quartered from stem to tip
Salt
6 saffron threads
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade (see note above)
1 egg yolk
½ lb. pappardelle
Pecorino Romano, finely grated

Put a large pot of salted water over high heat; this will be your pasta pot.

In a large skillet, warm a splash of olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Add the red onion, celery, carrot, and Italian parsley, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent. Add the zucchini blossoms, a pinch or two of salt, and the saffron, and stir gently to mix. Add about ¾ cup of broth, and stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the rest of the broth a splash or two at a time, taking about 5-8 minutes to add it all. Stir frequently. Allow the sauce to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and only a thin film of thickened broth remains in the pan. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk slightly with a fork.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until tender but al dente. When the pasta is almost ready, place the zucchini blossom sauce back over medium heat. Use a small measuring cup to scoop up about 3 Tbs of pasta water and, whisking constantly with a fork, gradually add the hot water to the egg yolk: together, they should make a loose, pale yellow liquid. Pour this mixture into the sauce in the skillet, stirring well. Using tongs or a spider, scoop the finished pasta from its pot into the skillet, and toss with the sauce over medium heat for about 30 seconds.

Serve, topped with grated Pecorino.

Yield: 2-3 servings

7.11.2006

Dinner, with a garden and lilies

I feel like such a big girl. Yesterday we did a Very Adult Thing: we went to a nursery and bought plants—herbs, at that!—for our patio. It was exhilarating, and also a little sobering. Having grown up in the suburbs of central Oklahoma—where the yards are neat and well fertilized, the flower beds carefully tended, and elaborate sprinkler systems sing sweetly at 6:00 am—I tend to equate the presence of a well-tended garden with the presence of responsible, established adults. As of yesterday, I guess that would be us, sort of—except that our garden is just six or so pots on the patio.

But by god, I mean to milk those pots for all they’re worth. So last night, to celebrate our newly minted status as amateur gardeners, I trotted out a recipe tailor-made for the task: an amalgam of summery alliums and a few of our new herbs.


Rather poetically titled “Rigatoni with Five Lilies and Ricotta Salata,” the recipe had been languishing in my accordion folder, its newsprint going brittle and pale yellow, waiting patiently for the right occasion. It was the title that intrigued me, mainly, with its seeming promise of flowers unfolding amidst coils of pasta and coarse ribbons of cheese. As it turns out, the “lilies” referred to are onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, and chives—not real members of the lily family, per se, but close cousins who once occupied the same taxonomic group. A tricky turn of phrase, maybe, but I liked the idea—and anyway, the smell of slow-cooking onions and leeks is a close second, I think, to a bouquet of lilies. So with Walla Walla season now upon us, not to mention a supply of herbs just outside the door, I took it that the time, at long last, had come.



And what a time it is. He who reads this and doesn’t proceed immediately to the market—or side patio—will be sorry. It may sound like an unassuming list of ingredients, but somewhere between the five forms of onion, the pasta, and the cheese hides a lush fragrance that unfolds—not unlike a lily, I might add—under the gentle pressure of the stove’s heat. With both olive oil and butter in the pan, the kitchen smells like Italy by way of France. The sweet onions go soft and golden brown, while the leeks and scallions loosen up, shaking off their sharp edges. All together, so many alliums could make a cloying, sicky-sweet mess, but somehow, they don’t. With a gentle, tangy punch from ricotta salata and a bright spark from fresh chives and parsley, this plate is well worth its poetic name. And even better, it’s a good excuse for raiding the pots on the patio.



Rigatoni with Five Lilies and Ricotta Salata
Adapted from The Babbo Cookbook and the San Francisco Chronicle

I tore this recipe out of the Chronicle a few years ago, back when The Babbo Cookbook first came out, and I’m kicking myself for not trying it earlier. If you feel any sort of affinity for either leeks or caramelized onions, do not delay: this recipe will be a keeper in your kitchen. It certainly will be in ours. To wit: between mouthfuls, Brandon said to me, “You know, your blog is really good for us. We’re such creatures of habit. If it weren’t for Orangette, we’d probably eat this every night for weeks.” I nodded, but what I really wanted to say was, “Screw the variety-for-the-sake-of-the-blog thing! I want more rigatoni.” Oh, Orangette, the sacrifices I make for you.

A final note: Brandon tried squeezing a bit of lemon over his serving, and he found it quite tasty. At his suggestion, I have included optional lemon wedges below.

3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. sweet onions, such as Walla Walla or Vidalia, cut in half from stem to root and then into ¼-inch slices
2 Tbs unsalted butter
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
½ lb. leeks, cut into 1/8-inch rings and washed
½ lb. red onions, quartered and sliced
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
½ cup water
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 lb. rigatoni

To serve:
4 oz. ricotta salata, coarsely grated
¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 small handful chives, finely chopped
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Lemon wedges, optional

In a large (12- to 14-inch) skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the sweet onions, and reduce the heat. Cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent; then raise the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until deeply golden and caramelized. Remove the pan from the heat, and transfer the onions to a bowl. Set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. When it has stopped foaming and is thoroughly melted, add the garlic, leeks, red onion, and scallions, and cook, stirring regularly, until very soft and golden. Add the water, and cook until the liquid evaporates. Season lightly with salt. Remove from the heat, and stir in the sweet onions.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the rigatoni until tender but al dente. In the last minute of cooking, return the onion mixture to medium-high heat. Drain the pasta, add it to the onion mixture, and toss over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and toss more, if necessary, to thoroughly disperse the onions amidst the pasta. Serve immediately, topped with plenty of ricotta salata and sprinklings of parsley and chives. Salt as needed, and finish with a quick squeeze of lemon, if you like.

Yield: 4 servings

7.05.2006

The leftovers business

Today I want to talk about something that I hold very dear, and for once, I don’t mean Brandon. I want to talk about something made of flour, eggs, sugar, and milk, something cooked on top of the stove and served most often with syrup. I want to talk today about pancakes—or, more precisely, leftover pancakes. A hot, steaming short stack is nice every now and then, but in my humble opinion, the best part of a pancake breakfast is the stuff that’s left on the serving platter after everyone has eaten their share.

I discovered this small delight during my years of living alone, when a batch of pancake batter meant automatic leftovers. Once the little cakes were cool, I would slip them two at a time into sandwich baggies, slip the baggies into a heavy Ziplock bag, and stash them in the freezer. At first, I did it out of necessity—really, who could waste a perfectly good pancake?—but before long, I found myself whipping up batches of batter for the sole purpose of replenishing the supply in the freezer. Apparently, I love leftover pancakes.

Frozen, defrosted, or warmed in the toaster oven, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s delicious. Whether plain, with jam, or with peanut butter, the lowly leftover pancake makes a royally satisfying snack at nearly any hour: after work and pre-cocktail, mid-morning, or at midnight. [Given that I’ve expounded at quite some length on my sentiments toward brunch, it should come as no surprise that I eat my pancakes at odd hours.] I’ve been known to eat buttermilk pancakes straight from the baggie, plain and dry and delicious, and I’ll go for a gingerbread pancake straight from the freezer, still hard and icy. But for the last year, my favorite play on the theme has involved JetBlue and leftover blueberry buckwheat pancakes, which defrost with a lovely, delicate crumb and taste quite spectacular when eaten at the tail end of a red-eye, as the plane swoops down over early-morning Manhattan. That is my kind of pancake breakfast.

But now that the days of living alone—and, happily, all those red-eyes—are behind me, a batch of pancake batter doesn’t leave much for the freezer. So when I read a recipe for a Bundt cake whose flavor, the author wrote, is “reminiscent of buckwheat pancakes,” you’d better believe that I fired up the oven. Come snack time, the only thing better than a pancake, I figured, is a slice from a cake that tastes like one.



Luckily for us all, I figured right. As promised, this big, beautiful, wreath-shaped cake has all the toasty, nutty flavor of a buckwheat pancake, and more.



Impossibly tender and moist, this cake is rich but somehow still light on the tongue, and not too sweet. Its crumb shimmers prettily with moisture from the buttermilk and the berries, which explode into each bite. It’s about as close to refreshing as a cake can get, which makes it a very fine snack for a summer afternoon. It’s enough to put my pancake pan out of business—or the leftovers business, at least.


Buckwheat Bundt Cake with Blueberries
Adapted from Kitchen Sense, by Mitchell Davis

For the purposes of full disclosure, you should know that I received this book as a review copy, free of charge from the publisher. But I liked it enough to make it my nightstand reading for nearly a week—high praise in my house, free book or no—and then to actually cook from it. I had never heard of Mitchell Davis prior to all this, but I liked the feel of his book from the very start. His tone is easy, conversational, and confidence-inspiring—sufficiently so, in fact, to prompt me to bookmark about a dozen recipes. This buckwheat cake makes for a very tasty first foray.

If you would like to make the cake as Davis intended, replace the blueberries with ¾ cup chopped toasted walnuts, and be sure to use the orange zest that I have listed as optional below. It brings a fragrant orange note, which is nice but—I think—not entirely necessary.

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp orange zest, optional
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup honey
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and set a rack to the middle position. Grease and flour a standard-size (10- to 12-cup) Bundt pan, and set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder, and whisk to mix well. Add the orange zest, if desired, and whisk to distribute.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs to break them up; then add the buttermilk and whisk to mix well. Add the butter, honey, and vanilla, and whisk well. Don’t worry if the honey hardens a bit in the cool liquid; keep stirring, and it will dissolve. Likewise, if the melted butter cools into little shards, don’t fret. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones, and stir just to combine. If the melted butter has clumped, whisk very briefly but vigorously to smooth the batter. Do not overmix.

Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter about half of the blueberries over the top. Add another 1/3 of the batter, and top with the remaining blueberries. Top with the remaining batter. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake rises, pulls away from the edges of the pan, and springs back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Note: This cake is even better after it sits for a day or so, which means great leftovers. Wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature, it will keep for up to four days. It also freezes well.