Tangerines have a unique sweetness that sets them apart from other oranges. They’re considered to be less sour and less tart than other oranges, even when oranges are generally perceived to be some of the least tart fruits of the citrus family. That sweetness makes them delicious for eating out of hand and that means that there aren’t all that many recipes that specifically call for tangerines over other types of oranges. Most recipes assume that you won’t reach for a tangerine, though just about every orange-infused recipe should work just fine with tangerine juice and zest in it. This Chocolate Tangerine Pound Cake specifically calls for tangerines, using their sweetness as a wonderful contrast to the bittersweet cocoa that gives the cake its deep chocolate flavor.
The loaf cake is made with a very generous amount of cocoa powder, but its bittersweet flavor is balanced out with both white and brown sugars, as well as the addition of tangerine juice and zest. The tangerine’s natural sweetness seems to pair perfectly with the other flavors in the loaf, blending beautifully with the chocolate instead of standing out against it in sharp contrast. The number of tangerines that you’re going to need will vary depending on the size of your fruit, so pick up a few extras when you buy them at the market. You can always eat the leftovers.
The cake is moist and tender, with a tight crumb, though it isn’t quite as dense as some other pound cakes. It has a beautiful flavor on its own, so I served my cake plain and unfrosted. If you want to boost the tangerine flavor even more, you can whip up a quick glaze using tangerine juice and confectioners’ sugar, then drizzle it over the top of the cooled cake. Similarly, a dark chocolate ganache poured over the top of the cake will make the cake even richer. The loaf tastes best the day after it is baked, when the flavors in the loaf had had plenty of time to meld together. It keeps well when stored in an airtight container for several days after baking, too.
Chocolate Tangerine Pound Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp tangerine zest
2 large eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup tangerine juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Line the base with a piece of parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Blend in tangerine zest and eggs, followed by cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Beat until mixture is uniform. Stir in one third of the flour mixture, followed by the tangerine juice. Stir in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool in the pan completely, then slide a knife around the edges of the cake and turn it out onto your counter/cutting board. Peel of parchment paper and either serve the cake or store in an airtight container.
Makes 1 loaf; Serves 10-12.