Oranges are kind of a big deal in Florida.
When the season is right for harvesting here, they literally fall into your hands. If you’re standing under an orange tree. Claiming the fallen fruit is perfectly legit
Fortunately, you don’t need to live in Florida to find good oranges all year long. And this is one cake you’ll want to buy a handful of the finest for: A humble orange-scented olive oil cake.
The best part about this cake, other than olive oil, is that it uses whole oranges. I’m not just talking the zest and flesh. The unpeeled fruits are quartered, cooked and pulsed in the food processor. This allows you to extract all that incredible flavor locked up in the skin, with none of the bitterness from the pith.
Pretty amazing. If anything were to capture sunshine in flavor, or in a cake no less, this would be it.
The sticky, thick batter developed into a fluffy, golden cake in the oven. The entire house smelled of orange pastry. Which, I can assure you, is an intoxicating thing.
Every bit as delicious as it looks. The crack down the middle casually exposing the orange-hued interior. Eat it warm, eat it cold. You won’t be disappointed with either.
Our abundance of oranges is welcome. With arms reaching skyward, hoping to catch a few ripe ones.
Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake [serves 10-12]
Extra-virgin olive oil results in a fruitier, more pronounced olive oil flavor, while regular olive oil yields a lighter taste. I’d be cautious with overly peppery or grassy extra-virgin oils. Though you might surprise yourself!
2 medium to large oranges
2 1⁄3 c sugar
unsalted butter, for greasing
2 1⁄2 c flour, plus more for pan
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla extract
6 T extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 c fresh orange juice
1⁄4 c confectioners sugar
sea salt, for garnish (optional)
Trim about 1⁄2″ from the tops and bottoms of oranges, then quarter the oranges lengthwise. Bring 6 c water to a boil in a 4-qt saucepan. Add orange quarters and bring water back to a boil; drain. Repeat boiling process of oranges twice more with 6 c fresh water each time.
Put oranges, 1 c sugar and 4 c water into the same 4-qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, 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.
Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 10″ round cake pan with butter and dust with flour; line pan bottom with parchment paper cut to fit. Set pan aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
Remove orange quarters from syrup, remove and discard any seeds, and put oranges into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until oranges form a chunky purée, 10–12 pulses. Add remaining sugar, reserved flour mixture, vanilla and eggs, and process until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add olive oil and process until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40–45 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk orange juice and confectioners sugar to make a thin glaze. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a cake stand or serving plate. Using a pastry brush, brush orange glaze over top and sides of cake; let cool completely. Garnish cake with salt, if desired. [If you expect leftovers, save some of the glaze to drizzle over subsequent pieces as you eat it.]