Almond, Orange, Olive Oil Cake

At first glance, this cake looks simple and unassuming. And olive oil being one of the main ingredients is both intriguing and…worrisome. But, when A.E. brought it as her contribution to Cooking Club S01E02, I dove in when it came time for dessert. WOW.

This might be the best new dessert I have tried in a very, very, very long time. She got it off of the blog Orangette by Molly Wizenberg, who adapted the recipe from one she ate at a restaurant. A.E. claims to not necessarily be skilled in the culinary arts, but she nailed this. It was soooo delicious. I wish I had taken a picture. (I vow to not make that mistake again and can only pray that my Cooking Club cohorts don’t mind being featured every month when I share their recipes – the paparazzi will be there from now on).

Here’s the recipe (with description by Wizenberg):

1 small to medium orange
1 lemon
6 ounces raw almonds
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
4 large eggs
½ tsp. table salt
1 ½ c. sugar
2/3 c. olive oil
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

First, get to work on the citrus. Put the orange and the lemon in a saucepan, and cover with water. (They’ll want to float. Don’t worry about it.) Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain, and cool.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and set a rack in the middle position. Put the almonds on an ungreased sheet pan, and bake until they look golden and smell warm and toasty, 10 to 15 minutes. (I tend to get nervous about burning them, and consequently, I always try to pull them out of the oven too soon. Don’t do that. Let them really toast.) Set aside to cool completely. When the almonds are cool, pulse them in a food processor until finely ground, the texture of coarse sand. Set aside.

Set the oven to 350°F, and grease a 9-inch round springform pan.

When the citrus is cool, cut the lemon in half, and scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds. Cut the orange in half, and discard the seeds. Put the lemon rind and orange halves in the food processor – there’s no need to wash it after grinding the almonds – and process to chop finely, almost to a coarse paste.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.

Combine the eggs and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Fold in the flour mixture. Add the citrus, almonds, and olive oil, and beat on low speed to just incorporate (A.E. did this party by hand because she doesn’t have a mixer and said it worked just fine!). Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack. Remove the sides of the pan. Before serving, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

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