This orange-infused espresso cake is an adaptation of creator Jared Downing’s grandmother’s beloved recipe, which she made for household and mates each Christmas morning in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for 60 years. Espresso cake is a staple of Christmas within the American South, one thing to munch on whereas opening presents across the tree. Paired with a mug of sizzling espresso, the sticky, nutty, citrusy deal with is a beautiful method to herald a wintry Christmas morning.

Featured in: “Taking Up the Torch of My Grandmother’s Christmas Morning Coffee Cake Tradition.”

Orange Butter Espresso Cake

Infused with citrus and decked with pecans, this espresso cake is the creator’s hallmark of Christmas in Tuscaloosa.

Yield: makes One 9- by 13-inch cake


4 hours, half-hour

For the cake:

  • 2¼ tsp. dry energetic yeast
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 massive eggs
  • ½ cups bitter cream
  • 8 Tbsp. (½ cup) melted unsalted butter, divided, plus extra for greasing
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, divided
  • 2 tbsp. finely grated orange zest

For the glaze:

  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ½ cups bitter cream
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. orange juice


  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the yeast, ¼ cup heat water, and a pinch of sugar and put aside till foamy, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of sugar, the eggs, bitter cream, and 6 tablespoons of the melted butter, adopted by the flour and salt. Combine on low pace till a dough begins to type, 2–3 minutes. Improve the pace to medium and proceed mixing till the dough may be very easy and elastic, 3–4 minutes extra. Take away the dough hook, cowl the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and put aside in a heat place till the dough has almost doubled in measurement, about 2 hours.
  2. In the meantime, in a medium bowl, stir collectively the remaining ¾ cup sugar, ¾ cup pecans, and the orange rind and put aside. Butter the within of a 9- by 13-inch rectangular baking dish and put aside.
  3. Frivolously flour a clear work floor and switch the dough out onto it. Knead the dough flippantly a number of occasions to deflate, then, utilizing a bench scraper or massive chef’s knife, divide in half. Roll every half right into a unfastened ball, cowl, and put aside till the dough has relaxed barely, about 5 minutes.
  4. Frivolously flour a rolling pin and sheet one of many dough balls out to a fair, 12-inch circle. Brush the floor with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with half of the reserved sugar-pecan combination. Lower the circle into 12 triangular wedges. Ranging from the broad finish, roll one of many wedges in in direction of the middle (like rolling up a croissant). Press down flippantly on the purpose to flatten barely. Repeat with the remaining wedges, then with the second dough ball, then switch the rolls in 3 rows, point-side-down down, within the ready baking dish. Cowl with plastic wrap and put aside in a heat place till the rolls have grown into one another, and are very gassy and doubled in measurement, 1–1½ hours.
  5. In the meantime, preheat the oven (with one in all its racks positioned within the heart) to 350°F. When the cake has risen, uncover and bake till evenly golden brown and cooked by, 30–35 minutes.
  6. Glaze the cake: In a small pot over medium warmth, whisk collectively the sugar, bitter cream, butter, and orange juice. Deliver to a boil and cook dinner, stirring sometimes, till easy and shiny, about 3 minutes. Take away from the warmth and pour the recent glaze over the espresso cake. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of pecans. Lower into squares and serve heat or at room temperature.

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