Olive oil has always been my oil of choice when it comes to cooking savory foods. I really fell in love with the oil during my time in Albania. In this tiny Mediterranean country where olive groves dotted most landscapes, good quality olive oil was plentiful. (In fact, my favorite Albanian experience of all time was wen we joined friends and pressed our own olive oil). Olive oil was so plentiful in fact, that most people never used butter and instead relied on oil for all aspects of their cooking–including baking. I quickly adopted the habits of my temporary home and gradually increased my use of olive oil while decreasing the amount of butter my family consumed. And soon, I too found myself using olive oil as part of my sweet dishes as well.
This cake, modified from a Food 52 recipe, is truly a Mediterranean experience that highlights two of the best ingredients from this part of the world; the afore mentioned olive oil and sweet and vibrant blood oranges. The olive oil ensures that the cake is rich and moist. Because you use a generous 1 1/3 cups and its flavor is prominent, be sure you use a good flavored oil. If the oil you start with doesn’t taste good, chances are your cake won’t either. Blood oranges are currently plentiful in my local markets so I’ve used their juice and zest here. Feel free to substitute a regular orange if you prefer but be sure to use fresh juice; bottled from concentrate juices won’t yield the same results.
ORANGE OLIVE OIL CAKE
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, orange juice and Grand Marnier.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisking until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
- Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
- Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.