Unofficial Correction per Graham Vink: This recipe should read 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peacans
A resourceful neighbor of mine planned a unique fall party several weeks ago. She contacted a local farmer in western Massachusetts, where we live, and arranged a hayride.
The farmer agreed to provide a two-horse Conestoga wagon, with a canopy rolled up over the metal frame and a good supply of hay scattered throughout the carriage, for a ride through his cornfields.
My friend invited a dozen friends to her house for appetizers first and then gave them directions to the farmer’s house. After a half-hour’s ride through the fields of corn, the group returned to the hosts’ home for a casual supper.
The menu included an appetizer - a wheel of Brie rubbed with curry powder, then baked and served warm with apple wedges - grilled barbecued pork tenderloins offered with caraway-scented coleslaw, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes sprinkled with fresh herbs.
For dessert, there was oldfashioned vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce, a basket of fresh raspberries, and Orange-Pecan Loaf Cake.
The directions for making the loaf cake were my contribution to this autumnal fete. While going through some memorabilia, I discovered this cake in a very old recipe collection assembled by my mother’s Sunday school class years ago.
The delicious loaf cake, laden with raisins, pecans and grated orange peel, is baked and then doused with fresh orange juice. Incredibly moist, it keeps well for four to five days and would be delicious also offered as a breakfast bread or with coffee or tea as a lateafternoon treat.
Mrs. Hastings’ Orange-Pecan Loaf Cake
2 cups flour plus flour for coating pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins, coarsely chopped
1 generous tablespoon grated orange peel (from 1 to 2 navel oranges)
1/2 coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
Spray 4-by-8-by-2-inch-deep loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and flour well, tapping out excess.
Sift together 2 cups flour and baking soda and set aside.
Place butter in bowl of electric mixer and beat on medium speed, gradually adding sugar in thin stream. When all sugar has been added, beat in eggs one at time. Beat in vanilla.
Lower speed and add raisins, orange peel and pecans. Then, alternately, beat in 1 cup flour mixture, then cup buttermilk. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk. Turn off mixer and scrape down sides of bowl if necessary during mixing process.
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth with spatula. Bake on center shelf at 350 degrees until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Check after first 45 minutes and continue to check at 10-minute intervals until cake is done. Remove cake from oven. Unmold onto wire rack set in shallow pan.
To prepare glaze, whisk together orange juice and sugar in bowl and pour over hot cake. Ladle orange juice mixture in pan over cake several more times. Serve cake warm or at room temperature. (Loaf will keep well 4 to 5 days if covered tightly and stored at cool room temperature.)
Yield: 12 servings.