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Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Ah, olive oil cakes. Moist, dense, satisfying olive oil cakes. Given how full of character they are—sweet, mellow, unctuous character— they’ve proven to be immensely popular here at Leite’s Culinaria. The fruity notes of olive oil tend to take particularly well to the lilt of citrus, evidenced by the number of readers who’ve told me they love our orange-olive oil cake. When I discovered our newest podcast victim, veteran cookbook author, food writer, and recipe developer Melissa Clark, had a blood orange olive oil cake in her book, In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite, I had to have it on the site. Melissa generously adapted hers especially for you, our dear readers.–Melissa Clark

LC Orange You Glad I Said...Note

Okay, okay, you can use regular oranges in this recipe in place of the sweetly tart, scarlet-hued squat little specimens known as blood oranges–available, maddeningly, only during winter. That said, if you can get your hands on the real deal, you really must do yourself a favor and try them in this cake. As Melissa Clark notes, the cut slices are “dappled with ruby dots.” Mmmm…imagine how pretty that would be.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 20 M
  • Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking pan
  • Honey Blood Orange Compote, for serving, optional (see recipe below)
  • Whipped Cream, for serving, optional

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176° C). Oil a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  • 2. Grate the zest from 2 of the blood oranges and place it in a bowl. Dump in the sugar and, using your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until the sugar is evenly flecked with the zest and the smell is irresistible.
  • 3. Supreme two oranges: Lop off the bottom and top so a bit of the fruit is exposed and the orange can stand upright on a cutting board. Starting at the top, cut away the peel and white pith with the tip of your knife, following the curve of the fruit. Slice down one side of a section and the other, using your knife to wiggle the fruit out, releasing it from the membranes and letting it fall into a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the sections and do the same to the second orange. Break up the segments with your fingers.
  • 4. Halve the remaining orange and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. You’ll have about 1/4 cup. Add enough sour cream to the juice until you have 2/3 cup of liquid. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the zested sugar and whisk well. Then plop in the eggs and whisk until incorporated.
  • 5. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Switch to a spatula and fold in the oil a little at a time. Fold in the orange segments. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
  • 6. Bake the cake for about 55 minutes, until it is golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan and onto the wire rack, right-side up, and cool to room temperature. Serve with whipped cream and Honey-Blood Orange Compote, if desired.

Honey-Blood Orange Compote

  • Supreme 3 more blood oranges according to the directions above. Drizzle in 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir gently.
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