Friday, July 26, 2013
My coworkers and I took a break from our regular work schedule for a staff meeting in Northwestern Wisconsin this week. We had the option of camping instead of sleeping in a hotel, so I said "heck yes!" and signed up for the camping crew. I volunteered to make a dessert and tried out a recipe for campfire mini cakes from Today's Letters. They were a total hit and confirmed my baker status among my coworkers (score).
While I admit I have some mad baking skillz, I had never baked over an open flame prior to Wednesday night. The fun experiment turned out to be totally worthwhile - even though I got a little too up close and personal with the smoke and flames.
The cakes are baked in hollowed out oranges, covered in tin foil, and placed directly in the campfire for 20 minutes (with a turn halfway through). Ingredients include one yellow cake mix, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, 1 cup water, 10-12 oranges. Slice off tops of oranges about half inch from the top. Save orange top for later. Scoop out orange "innards." Prepare cake mix according to directions and fill each orange about 3/4 full. Place top back on orange and wrap in foil. Place wrapped oranges in camp fire, turn halfway through, and check after 20 minutes. Orange peel may be burnt, but the cake will still be tasty!
Helpful tools: foil, bowl, spoon, bottle from home with oil and water pre-mixed, crack proof container for transporting eggs, long tongs for putting oranges in fire.
Tip: scoop out oranges at home if possible and try to conserve orange innards. This process was messier and took longer than I expected. I accidentally wasted a lot of the orange juice and pulp because I didn't have a good way to save it. I'd also avoid using mini oranges since bigger oranges = bigger cakes = happy campers.
I highly recommend giving these a try on your next camping trip. They were such a fun novelty since 1) not many people bake over open flames and 2) not many people eat cake out of oranges. We were dreaming up other variations around the campfire, and I think a grapefruit might be interesting, but as my coworker said "I think we're going to shelve the gourd idea."