An intoxicating combination of preserved oranges and olive oil intensifies the flavors of this cake. The cake is moist and dripping with fresh flavors and we could not but fall in love with this one.
This particular recipe had been on my to-do list for a long time, and happy as I am to have finally given it a try, I also regret not having tried this earlier; this is a keeper. The cake tastes fabulous just by itself, gets better as it matures for a couple of days and tastes even better with some cold ice cream or whipped cream and preserved orange slices on the side. We have had it every way, and delighted a few friends of ours too. This is the cake to have by your coffee cup, or if you would want a slice after your meal, make it elegant with some cream and compote.
The refreshing, juicy oranges in different shapes and sizes are actually spilling off and rolling down the shelves for the past few weeks.
We get them home one carton after another, and snack on them every time we walk by the counter top. The color brings the sunshine inside the home and the juicy dripping goodness provide all the satisfaction and Vit C that you need. For me, oranges and all its close varieties are like anti depressant. I like to eat them, zest them, drink a glass of freshly squeezed juice and bake with them.
I have used the large Navel Oranges for this cake. Why are these ones called the “Navel Oranges“? Because they literally have a belly button.
A navel orange is a special type of orange which has a little surprise inside once it is peeled: a partially formed undeveloped fruit like a conjoined twin, located at the blossom end of the fruit. From the outside, the blossom end is reminiscent of a human navel, leading to the common name of “navel orange.” These oranges are cultivated primarily in Brazil, California, Arizona, and Florida, and they are among the most common and popular of orange varieties. (Source)
Oranges and Olive Oil make a perfect pair, light and heady with their fruity undertones.
Here are some notes to compare.
I have used part all purpose flour and part almond flour for this cake. While the almond flour gives it a nice nutty taste (and we really like that), it also alters the texture of the cake. If you want a smooth feel in the cake, use all purpose flour and no nut flour.
I would love to use blood oranges to make this cake, just to see how the inside of the cake would look. But, any kind of oranges may be used. The recipes is easy and very quick only if you prepare the oranges ahead. The fruit needs to be simmered and cooked in sugar syrup and this is the only part that takes a lot of time. I had preserved the oranges two days ahead of baking the cake.
While glazing the top of the cake, I had some leftover liquid and I slowly dripped all of it in the cake, resulting in a soft, moist, and dense dessert. The using up of the glaze this way really helps if you are using nut flour.
Orange Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake from Saveur.
- 2 large oranges
- 2 1⁄3 cups sugar
- unsalted butter/oil, for greasing
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 1 1/4 cup almond flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon almond extract or orange extract or 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
- zest of 1 orange
- 3 eggs
- 6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Note: The almond flour can be substituted with the all purpose flour.
- 1⁄4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
For garnish – preparing the orange slices:
- 2 oranges, sliced in thin strips
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
Trim about 1⁄2″ from the tops and bottoms of oranges; quarter oranges lengthwise. Bring 6 cups water to a boil; add oranges. Bring water back to a boil; drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh cold water. Put oranges, 1 cup sugar, and 4 cups water over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves and orange rind can be easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature. (This step can be done ahead; a couple of days before you bake).
Heat oven to 350° F. Grease a 10″ round cake pan and dust with flour; line pan bottom with parchment paper. Set pan aside.
Combine all purpose flour and the zest. Rub the zest with the fingertips the flour. This releases the oil from the zest and hence the aroma. Add baking powder and baking soda to the flour and whisk them together; set aside.
Remove orange quarters from syrup, remove and discard any seeds, and pulse oranges until it forms a chunky purée, 10–12 pulses.
Beat sugar, almond/orange extract or orange blossom water, and eggs for 2 minutes. Combine the pureed orange. Whisk for another minute. Add almond flour, reserved flour mixture, process until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add olive oil; process until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40–45 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes.
For the glaze:
In a small bowl, whisk orange juice and confectioners’ sugar to make a thin glaze. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a plate/cake stand. Using a pastry brush, brush orange glaze over top and sides of cake; if you have any extra liquid, slowly drip it all in the cake. Let cool completely.
To prepare the orange slices for garnish:
Bring 3-4 cups water to a boil; add orange slices. Bring water back to a boil; drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh water. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1 cup water in the pan and add the orange slices to the pan. Simmer at low to medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the the slices softens and the solution gets thick, syrupy and sticky. Remove oranges and reserve to garnish.
Garnish cake with confectioners’ sugar and orange slices.
I had wanted to bake a rustic cake, brown and crisp on the edges with intense flavors. It might be plain cake to look at, but a bite will take you by surprise and you would want a slice again and again.