LIZ WILLIAMS is the director and president of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. Besides her work with SoFAB, she is a lawyer who writes about the legal aspects of food, reflecting culture, policy and economics.
I cannot stand to watch kumquats go uneaten. I beg kumquats from people who grow them ornamentally. I happily strip their trees. Of course, this creates a problem – what to do with all of these kumquats? I infuse bourbon or rum with kumquats. I make kumquatcello. I make marmalade. I cook with the kumquats that I retrieve from their time bathing in liquor. I love pork and kumquats. And recently I made a kumquat cake.
- 1 quart kumquats that have been preserved in liquor (recipe)
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup melted butter, slightly cooled
- 1 c granulated brown sugar plus another ¼ cup reserved
- 3 large eggs (these should be room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Grated zest of an orange
- ½ teaspoon salt
- About ¾ cup half and half
Place flour, baking powder, butter, and sugar into the bowl of a mixer. Begin mixing on low. When ingredients are well incorporated, add eggs one at a time. (I know that this isn’t the standard way to make a cake, but I do it this way.) Add the rest of the ingredients in the list. Beat about 2 minutes.
Butter either a bundt pan or an angel food cake pan. I use an angel food cake pan that belonged to my grandfather. Sprinkle the reserved ¼ cup of sugar over the bottom of the greased pan. Add about one cup of the kumquats to the bottom. Mix the rest of the kumquats into the batter with a spatula. Then immediately pour the batter into the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cake should be pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely before removing the cake from the pan or it will break. This cake is very moist. I used the cake as a birthday cake. I flamed the cake with spiced rum instead of using candles. This cake is boozy and not sweet, but it is delicious.