Love ‘em or hate ‘em, kumquats are in big supply in southern Louisiana and other parts of the country right now, overloading backyard branches and appearing in the produce aisle in pint-sized containers. According to the LSU AgCenter, we grow two kinds of kumquats in Louisiana, the oblong Nagami and the rounder, sweeter Meiwa.
I have a couple of Meiwa kumquat trees in my herb garden, and every year, I struggle to use the crazy abundance of fruit that won’t stop coming. They’re like sharks teeth. Pick one, and it seems like a dozen more are right behind it in varying stages of ripeness, ready to take its place.
This simple kumquat cake is moist and flavorful and is a great way to use 2 cups of fresh fruit.
Fresh Kumquat Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk*
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup kumquat puree (recipe below)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon orange extract
Confectioner’s sugar and fresh kumquats for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a standing mixer or bowl, whisk eggs briefly. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about one minute. Add oil, and beat until just combined. In a separate medium bowl, add buttermilk and stir in baking soda. Beginning with flour, add flour and buttermilk mixture alternately and mix until combined. Add kumquat puree, cinnamon, cloves, salt, nutmeg and orange extract, and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan, or into 2 loaf pans (8x4x2½) and bake until done, 60-70 minutes for tube pan, and 50-55 minutes for loaf pans.
Cool in baking rack for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pan. Allow to cool another 5-10 minutes. Arrange on plate, and garnish with confectioner’s sugar and kumquat sprigs.
*Substitution. Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to milk to make 1 cup.
2 cups (1 pint) fresh kumquats
Wash and dry kumquats. Slice each kumquat across the middle, and gently squeeze out seeds. Place kumquat halves in their entirety in a food processor and pulse until mostly pureed.
Yields: 1 cup