Olive Oil Orange Cake

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I have very simple tastes when it comes to sweets I make myself at home. Perhaps it is because I do not often have the patience to spend hours putting together elaborate desserts, but when I am in the mood to bake something, it can usually be put together quickly and without too many fancy ingredients. I like desserts that can be enjoyed at breakfast as well as after dinner and probably most of all, I love a good fruit flavored olive oil cake. Heck, I think I just plain love olive oil and would put it in my morning coffee if I could get away with it, but that’s another story altogether. This is one of my favorite cakes to make as there are just a handful of ingredients and it has a lovely fresh, orange flavor.

I first tasted an amazing orange flavored olive oil cake when we dined in Panzano at Dario Cecchini’s butcher shop. When you order coffee after lunch, it comes with a square of moist orange flavored olive oil cake that is really delicious. I knew after the first taste of Dario’s cake that I would have to duplicate the recipe at home and started to look online for something similar. Most of the olive oil cake recipes I found used the zest from many oranges but didn’t use the pulp or juice which just didn’t make sense to me. I remember long ago making an orange flavored quick bread where I threw the entire orange into a food processor and used that mix of juice, pulp and skin to flavor the bread with so I decided to simply play around in the kitchen and see if I could get the flavor and texture I was looking for. I was very lucky that I came up with a winner on my first try, but this cake has everything I was looking for. It is sweetly flavored with orange without being too bitter which can happen if you use too much of the zest, the olive oil kept it very moist, and the 4 eggs I added helped to keep the cake light so it didn’t become too dense which can be a problem in some olive oil cake recipes. Just do not use extra virgin olive oil for this cake as the flavor of the oil can be too much for the orange flavoring. A basic, simple olive oil works best for this cake.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2013

Olive Oil Orange Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Small Seedless Oranges
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil (Not Extra Virgin!)
  • 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • Dash of Salt
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

To Garnish:

  • Powdered Sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly grease a 9 inch spring-form pan.
  2. Cut off a small slice of the thicker top and bottom parts of each orange, discard these pieces, and then cut the rest of the oranges (flesh and peel) into chunks.
  3. Place them in a food processor and puree until blended but with some texture left.
  4. Add the oil to the oranges and pulse until blended.
  5. Mix together the flour, baking powder and soda and salt in a large bowl.
  6. In a separate bowl beat the eggs until they are light and fluffy and then slowly add in the sugar.
  7. Begin to add the egg mixture in three parts alternating with the orange mixture just stirring until combined. (Be careful not to over mix which will deflate the eggs and create a dense cake.)
  8. Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or just until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Cool before slicing.