I came across this recipe a few weeks ago when I was in Washington state at my mother's house and knew immediately that I would make it for my birthday. My 30th birthday. What better way to celebrate three decades than with a sophisticated olive oil cake?
I'm not a big cake baker. Or rather, I haven't been. I've made only a handful of cakes in my life (and I think all of them have involved a boxed mix...). But if there are many others out there as good as this one, I think that might change.
The sweet citrusy smell of this cake fills the whole house as it's baking. I happened to make it on the warmest Sunday on the peninsula to date this year with the windows open, and I'm sure made the neighbors jealous.
The cake recipe is from Orangette. I decided to make a bundt cake, rather than the 9" round directed in the recipe (though, courtesy of my mother, I am the proud new owner of both types of bakeware - thanks Mom!). The recipe for candied orange peel is from an old issue of Bon Appetit. Happy birthday to me!
Citrus Olive Oil Cake
1 medium orange
6 oz. raw almonds
1 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
2/3 c. olive oil (I used meyer lemon olive oil from the farmers' market)
confectioners sugar, for dusting
candied orange peel (optional; recipe below)
Put the orange and lemon in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
Meanwhile, toast almonds on a baking sheet in a 325 oven for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool. Pulse in a food processor until the almonds are the texture of coarse sand.
Set oven to 350 degrees. Grease bundt pan and dust with flour. Set aside.
When the citrus is cool, cut the lemon in half. Scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds. Cut the orange in half and discard any seeds. Put the lemon rind and orange halves (with pulp) in food processor (no need to clean it between the almonds and this step). Process until you have a thick paste.
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and salt. Beat until foamy. Slowly beat in sugar. Fold in flour mixture. Add almonds, citrus, and olive oil. Beat on low speed just enough to incorporate (don't overmix). Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan.
To serve, dust with confectioners sugar and top with candied orange peel.
Candied Orange Peel
Makes about 1 cup
1 large orange, 1/4 inch of top and bottom cut off
2 c. sugar, divided
1 1/2 c. water
Cut peel on orange into 4 vertical segments. Remove each segment (including white pith) in 1 piece. Cut into 1/4-inch wide strips. Cook in a large pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well.
Bring 1 1/2 c. of water and 1 1/2 c. of sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peel. Return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until peel is very soft, about 45 minutes. Drain.
Toss peel and 1/2 c. sugar on rimmed baking sheet, separating strips. Lift peel from sugar; transfer to a sheet of foil. Let stand until coating is dry - 1 to 2 days. Candied peel can be wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months.
One year ago: birthday bananas