Orange & Olive Oil Cake
Recipe adapted from David Leite
This Portuguese cake took me right back to Portugal...sitting in my Aunt's courtyard under her fig tree enjoying an afternoon espresso and a slice of something sweet. This unusual cake is moist, delicious and the flavour of oranges comes shining through. You will taste a hint of olive oil but unless you tell people what's in it, they won't be able to pick it out. The olive oil replaces the butter you would normally use in a cake. Use a fruity and mild tasting olive oil. You don't want a peppery or strongly flavoured oil.
The only changes I made to the original recipe was to reduce the salt and I added the zest of one lemon and juice of 1/2 a lemon. I enjoyed the recipe without the lemon but I think the lemon gives the cake a brighter flavour without taking anything away from the orange. This cake only gets better with time as the flavours get richer the longer you leave it. I made this cake 2 days before I served it and it was wonderful. Enjoy!
4 to 5 large navel oranges
1 lemon (optional)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
5 large eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups mild extra-virgin olive oil
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, remove any racks above, and crank up the heat to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt and set aside.
2. Finely grate the zest of 3 of the oranges, then squeeze 4 of them. You should have 1 1/2 cups of juice; if not, squeeze the 5th orange. Also finely grate the zest of one lemon. Set aside.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute. Slowly pour in the granulated sugar and continue beating until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and oil, starting and ending with the flour, and beat until just a few wisps of flour remain. Pour in the orange juice, juice of 1/2 the lemon and zests and whirl for a few seconds to bring the batter together.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 1 1/4 hours. If the top is browning too much as the cake bakes, cover lightly with foil. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.
6. Turn the cake out onto the rack and cool completely, then place it in a covered cake stand and let it sit overnight. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar. If you leave it for longer than overnight, keep the cake in the refrigerator.