Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Sometimes, I want to race to the finish when baking. I look forward to the final product and wish I could skip some steps to get there. Take this blood orange olive oil cake, for example. It's a recipe from Melissa Clark that I made for the first time a few years ago. I loved it then, but one step made me wait a while before making it again. I don't like to supreme oranges. Not one bit.

I should have watched a YouTube video on segmenting citrus before trying it again last week, remembering how I'd struggled the first time. Instead, I did a really sloppy job and cursed my beautiful little blood oranges and their pesky piths while I worked and wondered why Melissa Clark made it sound so easy. In fact, I came close to hurling a few of them out of frustration, but I held back. I wasn't in the mood to scrub the walls or give Nico any ideas.

Since blood oranges are in season right now and nothing beats a cake that's flecked with ruby-colored citrus, I think you should try this recipe. Luckily, once you supreme the oranges, it's smooth sailing. Here are some things I need to remember for next time, and maybe they'll help you out, too.

1. Either figure out how to supreme an orange before you start, or recruit a good sous chef who will do this step for you.
2. If you have a baby and he or she starts fussing while you're in the middle of baking this cake, do not put them in an Ergo or other baby carrier and keep going. Take it from me. Blood oranges and a squirmy baby are not a good combination.
3. This cake is best made first thing in the morning so you can eat it for breakfast and throughout the day. If you start too late, say around 5pm, you run the risk of having little ones in the bath when the buzzer goes off and by the time you can take the cake out, you'll be left with a loaf that's not burnt, but a bit too brown on the bottom.
4. Once it's ready, don't even try to cut yourself a skinny slice. You'll just be back for seconds and probably thirds after that. Go all out and hack off a big hunk. Put some whipped cream on top, too.
5. If you blog about food, snap a picture soon after your cake comes out of the oven and looks like this, not a few days later when you're about to eat the last three slices all by yourself. 
Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
From Melissa Clark via The New York Times
Time 1 hour 20 minutes plus cooling

Butter for greasing pan
3 blood oranges
1 cup sugar
Buttermilk or plain yogurt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Honey-blood orange compote, for serving, optional (see note)
Whipped cream, for serving, optional.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Grate zest from 2 oranges and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until orange zest is evenly distributed in sugar.
2. Supreme an orange: Cut off bottom and top so fruit is exposed and orange can stand upright on a cutting board. Cut away peel and pith, following curve of fruit with your knife. Cut orange segments out of their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl. Repeat with another orange. Break up segments with your fingers to about 1/4-inch pieces.
3. Halve remaining orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup. You will have about 1/4 cup or so. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs.
4. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently whisk dry ingredients into wet ones. Switch to a spatula and fold in oil a little at a time. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Scrape batter into pan and smooth top.
5. Bake cake for about 55 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up. Serve with whipped cream and honey-blood orange compote, if desired.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Note: To make a honey-blood orange compote, supreme 3 more blood oranges according to directions in Step 2. Drizzle in 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir gently.


Cursuri Cosmetica said...

I sometimes imagine myself skipping steps just to get to the final product as soon as I can, too. But other times I just like to follow every step precisely because I know that the final product will be amazing. Anyway, your cake looks incredible. I love orange cakes, so I will definitely try this one out. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Lia said...

Thanks, Cursuri Cosmetica. I hope you enjoy the cake!


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