I'm so excited y'all. This really hit home with me and I couldn't wait to share! I recently received some incredible oranges direct from a grower here in California and I was thrilled to pull together a feature that would do the quality of the produce justice. They are just awesome, but more on that in a moment.
Now over the years, in my experience of working as a professional chef, I've been blessed immensely with the chance to work with so many amazing chefs and culinary professionals in all parts of industry from those who ran major hotels and convention centers, to small mom and pop restaurants and everything in between.
Recipes are shared and passed. It was in 2006 that I had the chance to experience for the first time in my life, a cake that was richer and unlike any other I'd ever tasted in all the years and from all the chefs I'd ever worked with. An Italian-inspired olive oil cake! That's right, a cake that's fully loaded with fresh, fruity olive oil. California too also grows so many olives and produces some of the finest olive oil in the world! This recipe features that as well but for you, grab what's in your pantry and just have a go. Keep it easy. You won't be disappointed.
So a little more about the oil. Most cake recipes celebrate and hail the flavors of butter, but in this case, this recipe celebrates the use of a rich, fruity, olive oil and just about any olive oil will work. Now having said that, for the best, most flavorful results (I'm going to tell you this because I am a chef after all and I lead with that foot), I recommend choosing an olive oil that you'd choose to have on any of your finest dishes. If you'd dip your bread in it at the table while waiting for your food to arrive in your favorite Italian restaurant, then that's the olive oil you should use! Extra virgin is recommended but lighter options will also work. Like I mentioned, just get in the kitchen and whip this up. It's outstanding.
So here's a peak of the beauties I received from Bream Family Farms (Lindsay, CA). I knew I had to prepare something special to make the experience of enjoying them last even longer. These jewels were harvested from their "Legacy Block" with trees dating 109 years of age. Unbelievable! With oranges this unique, I knew this cake would do them justice.
This is bar none, will be the most moist cake you'll ever taste. Even if you feel you aren't a "cake person", this beautiful recipe will delight you and quite possibly change your mind. As you can see, the finish is a dusting of powdered sugar just to make it really pretty, but it's truly not even necessary. It comes out of the oven gorgeous and ready to savor.
For this recipe, you need the freshest of ingredients. The beauty is, you only use the exterior zest so the oranges themselves can be enjoyed on their own or even used in another recipe of your choosing. The cake can be prepared in a round, square, or rectangle baking dish. Just go with whatever you have at hand. It's a rustic, old world style recipe and should be kept as simple as possible. As this cake "ages", it makes an amazing toast if you slice it thin. Put it under the broiler to toast slightly or in a toaster oven if you have one. It's just delicious, especially when smeared with softened, salted butter.
So enough of me and my excitement for you to try this, let's get to the recipe preparation.
- 3 eggs
- 2 ½ c. granulated sugar
- 1 ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ c. milk
- Grated zest of 3 oranges
- 2 c. all purpose flour
- ½ t. baking powder
- ½ t. baking soda
- 1 t. cinnamon, ground
- Pinch salt
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease/flour a 12-inch cake pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until blended. Add the olive oil, milk, and zest and mix well. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the egg mixture, stirring just until blended. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. Remove to cool on a wire rack. When cooled, loosen the sides and invert onto a serving dish. Dust with powdered sugar and cut the cake into 10-12 slices. Enjoy!
Makes 1, 12-inch cake pan. Serves 10-12