-- Softened butter and all-purpose flour for the pan
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
-- Grated zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 cup toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup (6-ounces) white chocolate chips
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter and flour a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and tap out the excess flour.
Put the chopped white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place in a skillet of barely simmering water and let stand, stirring often, until melted and smooth; be sure not to get any water in the bowl. Remove from the water and let the chocolate cool until tepid.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer set on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the buttermilk, followed by the tepid white chocolate, orange zest and juice, and vanilla. The mixture will look curdled, but don’t worry. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, and beat just until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the cranberries, hazelnuts, and white chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.
Bake until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. (This dense, moist cake has a longer baking time than other tea loaves.) Let cool on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the wire rack and unmold. Turn right side up and let cool completely.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Kathleen King’s Baking for Friends (Tate’s Bake Shop, Sept. 2012).