Citruses make the winter much more manageable. When December roles around, I’m always happily surprised to see lemon, orange, and mandarin dishes populate restaurant menus and appear on my favorite food blogs. They’re so cheerful and bright, I forget their best time is wintertime. Of all the citruses, the blood orange is an easy favorite. Tangy, sweet, and aesthetically delightful, its color adds a lovely pop to any plate. I’ve been intrigued by olive oil cake as it sounded like a dessert I could enjoy, without guilt, at all times of day. It is also incredibly easy to prepare. Our fav Melissa Clark provides the recipe for this cake. Don’t skip using good olive oil. It makes the cake more flavorful. And stock up on blood oranges! There’s no reason to be skimpy, they’re in season.
- butter (for greasing the pan)
- 3-6 blood oranges (more if you’d like to make compote)
- 1 cup sugar
- approx. 2/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp honey (optional, for compote)
- whipped cream (optional, for serving)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan (we used a 9-inch round pan, 8-by-8 square pan works well also). Grate zest of 2 oranges and place in bowl with sugar. Fully incorporate the zest and sugar, using your hands to rub the ingredients to ensure even distribution.
- Supreme 2-3 oranges (these you will mix into the batter, so supreme more if you like more fruit chunks). To do this, cut off the bottom and top of the orange so it can stand upright on your cutting board. Then, with a sharp knife, cut away peel and pith, following the curve of the fruit. Cut the orange into segments along its connective membrane and let fall into a bowl. Set aside.
- Squeeze juice of 1-2 oranges into a measuring cup. Add yogurt or buttermilk to measuring cup until you have a little less than 1 cup of liquid. Mix and then add to bowl of sugar, whisking to fully incorporate. Whisk in eggs.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the dry to the wet ingredients, a bit at a time, whisking to incorporate. Switch to a spatula and then slowly add the olive oil. Fold into the batter and be mindful to incorporate before pouring in more. Fold in orange pieces. Pour batter into a pan.
- Bake for 55 minutes, or until a knife/toothpick inserted into cake’s center comes out clean. Cool on rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool at room temperature until ready to serve. Tastes even more delicious when served with whipped cream and honey-blood orange compote.
- To make compote, supreme 3 more oranges and mix with 2 tsp of honey. Let sit for 5 minutes then stir once more.