I don’t know about you, but I have been in a spring cleaning frenzy this year. Or should I say, spring “tidying” frenzy. After hearing nothing but good things about this book on the Japanese art of tidying up, I read it at a record pace and immediately put its teaching to use. I’ve been going through my belongings, inspired to keep only those things that I truly love, and discarding and donating the rest. My home has already started to feel lighter and more free. With the “tidying” part under control in most areas, it was only natural to move on to the “cleaning” portion of the event.
I’m going to be honest with you: I’m 32 years old and there’s still certain “adult” activities I have just never yet participated in. Cleaning the oven is definitely in that category. Sure, I’ve turned on the self-clean mode once every few years and hoped for the best, but does that mode really do anything? I’ve literally never noticed a difference.
After a pizza-cheese-drip disaster last week, enough was enough. Luckily, what I thought was going to be a back-breaking, time-consuming and messy activity only turned out to be one of those things. It was messy. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I don’t want to gross you out with too many pictures, but you know that scene in The Shawshank Redemption where Andy runs through the sludge to escape? It was sort of like that. I know. I’m sorry.
On the up side, this project was NOT back-breaking or time-consuming like I thought it might be. In fact, it was almost disturbing how easy it was. I gave the entire inside of the oven a liberal spray of Easy-Off Fume Free Oven Cleaner before bed. In the morning, I grabbed a roll of paper towel and literally just wiped all the baked-on grease and food spills away. No scrubbing. No awful fumes (just a nice lemon scent!). No sweating. Just nice and easy wiping. I did need to use a razor blade to get the glass door of the oven clean, but that was really no sweat. The whole thing seriously only took 15 – 20 minutes, when I had mentally set aside at least an hour for this task.
With a clean oven and time to spare, I decided to celebrate with a cake. What better way to reward myself for all this spring cleaning than a spring-perfect orange bundt cake with blackberry icing? This cake is a breeze to mix up, and it’s perfect for any special occasion, like Mother’s Day, a spring birthday, or a day where you just cleaned the oven for the first time.
For the Orange Bundt Cake:
- Nonstick baking spray (flour added)
- 2 sticks (1 cup) room temperature unsalted butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Grated zest of 2 oranges
For the Blackberry Icing:
- 1/2 cup fresh blackberries, plus extra for garnish (optional)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 teaspoons milk
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
- Make the Orange Bundt Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Throughly coat a 9- to 10-cup bundt pan (I used this swirl one) with baking spray.
- In mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and salt 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Mix in baking powder. Add flour alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour (about 4 additions of flour and 3 additions of milk). Add vanilla and orange zest and mix until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with knife. Transfer to oven and bake 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
- Transfer cake to cooling rack; let stand 15 minutes. Run small knife around edges of pan to loosen cake, then invert cake onto rack. Let cool completely before icing.
- Make the Blackberry Icing: In mini food processor or blender, blend blackberries until smooth. Place mixture in fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Use rubber spatula to press mixture against strainer to release all blackberry juice into bowl. Discard solids in strainer.
- Whisk honey and milk into blackberry juice. While whisking, add powdered sugar in 1/4-cup increments until you have a very thick but pourable icing. To serve, pour icing over cake and garnish with extra blackberries, if desired.