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Orange-Scented Buttermilk Cake Loaves

The solution to baking for 20 is to stick with easy desserts like this moist buttermilk cake, which can be made a day in advance.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: makes three 8-by-4-inch loaves

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  • 3 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray three 8-by-4-inch loaf pans (disposable are fine) with vegetable oil cooking spray, dust with flour and arrange them on a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar and orange zest at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions and scraping down the side of the bowl. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients; gently fold just until blended.
  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops; gently tap once to release any air. Bake the loaves for about 45 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of each loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  4. Transfer the loaves to a rack for 20 minutes, then turn them out onto the rack and set them right side up to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, slice and serve.
Photo © Michael Turek Published December 2012

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