I’ve never been a cake person, favoring cookies, ice cream, pie, muffins, frozen custard, pastries, and almost anything else over something that often reminds me of a really sweet version of crumbly bread (which is actually exactly what cake is). It’s one of those things that I feel like could have a good amount of potential, but it never lives up to what I want it to.
I think a big part of the problem is frosting and icing. Sugar and fat is bad enough, but sugar and water mixed together and then dyed is just revolting to me. Now, if you personally have chosen to like cake, I’ll still be your friend. I just won’t eat cake with you.
This cake is quite different from the above mentioned atrocities because it’s very thick, dense and rich. It’s both savory and sweet, and it requires no icing of any kind (a bonus of infinite proportions). I first found the original version of this recipe on Molly Wizenberg’s blog, but I have since updated it slightly (although she should still get full credit for the use and creation of this recipe). I like that it contains fruit and toasted nuts, and the olive oil is deep and coats your palette in a thick way, while the spices are a subtle compliment to the orange.
It’s a lovely update of “fruitcake” for the holiday season, because although it is reminiscent of that tradition, it actually tastes good. Because it contains boiled citrus, it makes your house smell mouthwatering while you prep and bake it, that is if you like the smell of lemons and oranges. It’s sweet enough that the only necessary accompaniment is unsweetened freshly whipped cream, and maybe a square of very dark chocolate.
Citrus Olive Oil Cake with Toasted Almonds
Preheat the oven to 350º
1 small to medium orange
6 ounces raw, slivered almonds
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream, a sturdy metal bowl, and a whisk
in a saucepan, cover the orange and lemon with water. Bring to a boil, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350.Toast the almonds on a sheet pan for 5 minutes at first, and two minute intervals after, until they are light brown and omitting a toasted aroma. When the almonds are cool, grind them in a food processor or very clean coffee grinder until they are finely ground, but not pureed into a paste.
Remove the citrus from the water, and when it’s cool, cut it in half and discard all the seeds. Place in a food processor or blender and chop finely (peel and all), but don’t puree fully. You want some chunks, not a smooth paste.
In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder along with the nutmeg and black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and salt until foamy, by hand or with a mixer. Beat in the sugar, in a few additions. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add citrus, almonds and olive oil, and beat to combine, but do not overmix. Pour the batter into a greased 9″ spring form pan. Bake for an hour until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool, and serve it at room temp with whipped cream.
(The credit for this photo goes to Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, where I originally found a version of this recipe.)