Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gourmet Unbound: Tangerine Cake with Fennel Ice Cream

Gourmet, unbound is a great new blog project that seeks to celebrate recipes from past issues of Gourmet magazine now that new issues won't be coming out. When I saw the site, I knew I wanted to participate! Each month bloggers choose a recipe from that month, but any year (so for January's roundup, we all chose recipes from a past January issue of Gourmet). I found an amazing-sounding Orange Cake, and substituted tangerine zest and juice since that what looked good at the grocery. The cake turned out moist, flavorful, and not-too-sweet. I paired it with a non-January Gourmet recipe for Fennel Ice Cream, which is maybe the best ice cream I've ever eaten. I really can't recommend it enough. Even though the ingredients are simple - normal frozen custard ingredients plus fennel seeds - the result is stunning. The ice cream is rich, smooth, and perfectly fennel-flavored without being overpowering. Definitely a keeper!

Tangerine Cake (adapted from Gourmet)

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons finely grated fresh tangerine zest (from 2 tangerines)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For glaze:
1/8 cup fresh tangerine juice
1/2 cup sifted confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter an 8-inch springform pan.

2. Beat together butter, sugar, and zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until just incorporated. Whisk in the sour cream and tangerine juice, and then carefully fold in the remaining ingredients until just combined.

3. Transfer batter to baking pan and bake in the middle of the oven until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking together the tangerine juice and confectioner's sugar. Poke the just-out-of-the-oven cake all over with a wooden skewer. Carefully pour the glaze evenly over the cake. Allow it to soak in for about 10 minutes before serving.

Fennel Ice Cream (from Gourmet)
Makes about 2 pints

1 2/3 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar, divided
Pinch salt
4 large egg yolks

1. Bring cream and fennel seeds just to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan, then cover and let steep about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring.

3. Whisk together yolks and remaining 2 T sugar in a large bowl, and then add milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Return mixture to medium saucepan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Immediately strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl, then quick-chill by setting bowl in an ice bath and stirring occasionally until cool, about 15 minutes.

4. Strain fennel cream through fine-mesh sieve into custard, pressing on solids. Continue to chill in ice bath until custard is very cold, then freeze in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, about 1 hour.


  1. That look really perfect. So neat and level at the top. I am sure it tasted delicious!

  2. That sounds like a great project! Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and for your comment. Let me know if you make those peanut butter snowballs. Happy Holidays!

  3. This is right up my alley.... I love a not-too-sweet cake. And fennel ice cream... it is on my culinary resolution list of an ingredient to us more often. Both look great. Thanks for sharing!

  4. This cake looks wonderful! Thanks! I think it would make great cupcakes too. Yum!