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Cherry orange loaf cake

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My grandmother was a big fan of stollens, coffee cakes and gooey butter cakes, a St. Louis delicacy. More Saturdays than not, treats like these would make their way into our house, usually from the Favorite Bakery on Cherokee Street. Some were sugary sweet, but as often they would be dense, non-cakey loaves with just a little sweetness. Perfect with a cup of coffee from the chrome electric percolator that always seemed to be brewing on the kitchen table.

This Cherry Orange Loaf Cake is that kind of cake. Not overly sweet and, if not exactly dense, not exactly fluffy either. Cherries, chopped pecans and flaxseed meal give it a satisfying textural richness and mix of flavors. Orange zest and a drizzled frosting of orange juice and powdered sugar add a subtle citrus finish. Honestly, when concocting this cake, a variation on a Lemon Flaxseed Cake I make, I expected the orange flavor to be a little more prominent. I’m kind of thinking that my orange was a little on the anemic side, though – there was no big burst of orange fragrance as I zested or juiced it. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe again with a more robust orange.

And delicateness of its orangeness aside, this is a lovely, light treat. Not too rich or guilt-laden, it’s just right for when holiday guests drop in or as a holiday breakfast while you open presents.

Cherry Orange Loaf Cake
 12 servings

For Cake:
 1 cup dried cherries
 1/4 cup [+ a little extra] canola or vegetable oil
 1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
 2 cups all-purpose flour
 6 tablespoons flaxseed meal [or 1/4 cup flaxseed ground in small food processor]
 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
 grated zest of 1 orange
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 2 large eggs
 1/4 cup chopped pecans

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