inspired by my southern grandma's family recipe
As I write this, it's late February, and spring is in the air. However, we are very much in that transitional period between winter and spring produce, and citrus is still abundant pretty much everywhere I look. I've been seeing a lot of citrus marmalades pop up lately, which reminded me of my grandmother.
My grandmother, the spy.
Well- she wasn’t really a spy. But she always wanted to be one. Creating grand stories and elaborate identities was the norm as we huddled over bowls of warm tomato soup during various lunch dates. She’d been to Saudi Arabia, lived there in fact- while my grandfather worked as a visiting physician. She was fearless- an expat, a girl from Little Rock Arkansas. Out of her element maybe, though her sly smile often suggested otherwise.
She hosted dinners with Black pastors and marched in the civil rights movement of the 60s. Scared, no doubt. Not sure how the white suburbanites of Atlanta would react. What do you wear to a civil rights march? She wondered. She’s a lover of crows and wallabies— often taking excitable interest in the spider that has taken up residence in window sill. Always trying to siphon off different books from her overflowing collection to the chagrin of her grandkids. But damn, she was (and is) a badass.
Orange marmalade loaf always makes me think of her— wrapped in tin foil and cling film with her swirly cursive note wishing us a merry Christmas. She’d bring over her famous dinner rolls later for dinner, wrapped gently in cloth napkins to be finished methodically in the oven. She taught me how to make them once.
This loaf is for her.
As much as I love her recipe, I thought I'd take a shot at it, and use my very own marmalade recipe in the process. The loaf comes together quickly, two bowls max, no special equipment required other than a trusty spatula and a 9-5 inch loaf pan. The cake is light and tender, with a slight chew from the semolina flour. It's studded with little pockets of candied orange peel, which is pretty heavenly. What more could you want from a recipe?
Orange Marmalade Loaf~
-1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
-1/2 cup semolina flour
-1 cup orange marmalade* (see note)
-1 cup half and half
-1/4 cup unsweetened Greek yogurt
-1/4 cup safflower or vegetable oil
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp ground ginger
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 cups powdered sugar
-juice of one medium orange
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl combine the flours, salt, baking powder and ginger and whisk until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, Greek yogurt, vegetable oil and half and half and again whisk until smooth and combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spatula until few lumps remain. Add the orange marmalade and fold into the batter until dispersed. Pour the batter into a loaf pan and place into the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes and then rotate the pan in the oven. Let the loaf bake for a remaining 10-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before flipping onto a plate or wire rack. Let cool for a remaining 20-30 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar and the orange juice and mix with a spatula to combine. Once the glaze is roughly combined, stir with a whisk to eliminate any lumps. Pour the glaze over the cake, slice, and enjoy!
*Orange Marmalade (make the day before):
-1 8 oz package of kumquats, rinsed
-2 Cara Cara navel oranges, rinsed and scrubbed clean
-4 cups of sugar
-1 cup of water
Place a sieve over a medium bowl. Slice the kumquats in half and squeeze out the juice over the sieve. Once all the seeds are removed from the kumquat, place the skins in the bowl with the juice. Slice the oranges thinly and add to the bowl with the kumquats. Place the oranges/kumquats, sugar, and water into a large pot and stir to disperse the sugar. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, partially covered, and let cook for a remaining 45 minutes to 1 hour until the mixture has reduced down significantly and the orange peel is completely cooked through. Place marmalade into sterilized mason jars and store in the fridge.