Orange-Date Cake

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Icing is great, but when you want a really moist cake, you can’t beat glazing. This rich, citrusy beauty has everything going for it: dates, nuts, buttermilk, tangy orange, and brandy. It should make 16 servings—but I wouldn’t count on it! SAM

3 1/2 cups plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 (12-ounce) package pitted chopped dates
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Orange Glaze

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch stem pan and set aside. Combine 3 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Toss the pecans and dates with 1/2 cup flour and set aside. With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugar on medium speed. Add the egg yolks and beat until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in the pecan mixture by hand. In a clean, dry mixer bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed with the whisk attachment until stiff. Gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain. Turn into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the top comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, loosen, and remove from the pan onto a cake plate. Prick holes all over the cake with a skewer or wooden pick and brush with Orange Glaze (recipe follows). Cool and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours before serving.
Makes 16 servings.

Orange Glaze
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon brandy

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and brandy and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Brush over the warm cake.
Makes 1 3/4 cups or enough for 1 tube cake.

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