The most universally grown tree fruit in the world is the orange. In the United States these trees are grown in the tropical climates of Florida and California. 68.5 million tons of oranges were produced in 2008. Brazil and the United State were the primary growing areas. Sweet oranges contribute to 70% of the world’s citrus production.
The first orange trees inwere planted in the mid-1500’s and farmed commercially since the mid-1800’s. These trees have expanded to 596,000 acres of orange groves, 74 million citrus trees and is a $9 billion industry. Florida produces 70% of the citrus supply for the United States. 80% of the orange crop grown by the citrus growers of Florida are used for oranges juice production.
A hybrid between pomelo and mandarin the orange’s origin is thought to be of ancient Southeast Asia. Sweet oranges can vary in color and size depending on the local growing conditions it is exposed to.
Due to its numerous seeds or “pips”, it’s fleshy, soft and rind covered characteristics and that it comes from a single ovary, oranges are considered a modified berry. A delightfully sweet orange can be peeled and eaten whole or processed for its juice and citrusy peel.
To celebrate the citrus season here is a beautiful cake for your enjoyment!
Slightly adapted from this recipe.
1 C Chopped Dates
1-1/2 C White Whole Wheat Flour, divided
1 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 C Apple Sauce
3/4 C Honey
1/4 C Grated Orange Peel
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 C Buttermilk
1 C Chopped Walnuts
½ C Orange Juice
½ C Confectioners’ Sugar
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Toss dates with 1/4 cup flour; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together apple sauce and honey.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir in orange peel.
Combine the baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining flour.
Add to wet ingredients alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
Stir in dates and nuts.
Transfer to a greased and floured 10 inch fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. I used an 8-inch tube pan and made 6 muffins with the remaining batter.
For glaze, combine orange juice and confectioners’ sugar in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool for 30 minutes.
Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Poke holes in cake top. Drizzle glaze over top and sides of cake; cool completely before serving.
I prefer the unglazed muffins. They are a hearty way to start the morning. The glaze adds a complimentary sweetness that tops off a delicious cake. Or glazed muffins could be a good way to start the day, if you are into that kind of thing. Either way, I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Are you a fan of Oranges or Orange Juice? Do you use Orange Zest?