Orange, Honey and Spice A Tea Cake Make

I love the combination of baking spices with orange and honey. It makes me think of sunshine, flowers, and something good in the oven on a chilly day.

That pretty much describes where we are right now. I'm still cutting a few zinnias, and the mornings and evenings are brisk. Halloween decorations are going up, and the cider donuts are being sold at our co-op on Thursdays. I see kids in Uggs and grown-ups in flip-flops.

I used Penzey's Baking Spice here, but you could use any spice you wish. The original recipe calls for nutmeg, which I'd also like to try.

Whole Wheat Honey Tea Bread
adapted from Country Baking

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking spice of your choice
1/2 cup (1/4 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup honey (I used a raw wildflower)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
zest of 1 orange

Butter a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan (preferably shiny metal, not dark). Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees if using a glass pan). Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spice into a bowl, including any pieces of bran that won't go through the sifter. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and honey with an electric mixer. When it is well blended, beat in the brown sugar, the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla and yogurt.

Stir half of the dry ingredients into the creamed ingredients, just until blended, then stir in the milk, zests, and the rest of the dry ingredients; stir just until no traces of dry ingredients remain. Bake for about 55 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

Let the bread cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then carefully run a spatula around the sides before turning the bread out. Cool thoroughly, then wrap the bread in plastic wrap and foil.