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BLOOD ORANGE OLIVE OIL CAKE

  My first taste of an olive oil cake was at Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, MI. My son was a student there, and when we would visit, I'd try to bring home something from Zingerman's Bakehouse for my staff.....IF it made it home! I never knew you could use olive oil instead of butter, and what an awakening!  Then I saw Deb Perelman's recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and I was wooed by the addition of blood oranges (or any citrus, for that matter) to the mix. After all, olives are usually grown in climates friendly to citrus, so the adage of "what goes together, grows together" holds true. While making my version the other night, a happy accident occurred.  After the cake was finished baking, it was quite pale, but done inside. I had some reserved blood orange juice left, boiled it with a little sugar and a couple of shakes of orange bitters, poked some holes in the cake and infused it with more moisture and flavor. It still wasn't enough. So I ran the cake under the broiler and a magical thing happened - that syrup started caramelizing and I was on to something. But I couldn't stop there. I sprinkled a thin layer of sugar on top of the whole cake, put it back under the broiler, and bruleed the top of the cake. The color was so satisfyingly delectable, that this happy accident is now part of my recipe. You are certainly welcome!

My first taste of an olive oil cake was at Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, MI. My son was a student there, and when we would visit, I'd try to bring home something from Zingerman's Bakehouse for my staff.....IF it made it home! I never knew you could use olive oil instead of butter, and what an awakening!  Then I saw Deb Perelman's recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and I was wooed by the addition of blood oranges (or any citrus, for that matter) to the mix. After all, olives are usually grown in climates friendly to citrus, so the adage of "what goes together, grows together" holds true. While making my version the other night, a happy accident occurred.  After the cake was finished baking, it was quite pale, but done inside. I had some reserved blood orange juice left, boiled it with a little sugar and a couple of shakes of orange bitters, poked some holes in the cake and infused it with more moisture and flavor. It still wasn't enough. So I ran the cake under the broiler and a magical thing happened - that syrup started caramelizing and I was on to something. But I couldn't stop there. I sprinkled a thin layer of sugar on top of the whole cake, put it back under the broiler, and bruleed the top of the cake. The color was so satisfyingly delectable, that this happy accident is now part of my recipe. You are certainly welcome!

 
  INGREDIENTS:   - 6 blood oranges (if you don't have them, 3 large seedless oranges will be fine)  - 2 1/4c. all purpose flour  - 1 1/2 cup sugar   -1 TB baking powder  - 3/4 tsp kosher salt (if using sea salt, use 1/2 tsp)  - small carton plain yoghurt (4-5 oz)  - 1/2 c. olive oil. Be sure to taste it to make sure it's not rancid.  - 2 large eggs

INGREDIENTS:

- 6 blood oranges (if you don't have them, 3 large seedless oranges will be fine)

- 2 1/4c. all purpose flour

- 1 1/2 cup sugar 

-1 TB baking powder

- 3/4 tsp kosher salt (if using sea salt, use 1/2 tsp)

- small carton plain yoghurt (4-5 oz)

- 1/2 c. olive oil. Be sure to taste it to make sure it's not rancid.

- 2 large eggs

  WHAT YOU NEED:   - food processor  - sharp knife  - whisk/spatula  - large bowl and medium bowl  - 8-9" springform pan (or round cake pan) - greased with olive oil, lined with parchment.  Grease the top of the parchment, too.  - oven - preheated to 350  - Orange Bitters (optional)

WHAT YOU NEED:

- food processor

- sharp knife

- whisk/spatula

- large bowl and medium bowl

- 8-9" springform pan (or round cake pan) - greased with olive oil, lined with parchment.  Grease the top of the parchment, too.

- oven - preheated to 350

- Orange Bitters (optional)

  INSTRUCTIONS:   1.  Cut 2 of the blood oranges into quarters, remove any visible seeds. (if using regular oranges, just quarter one)  PS - aren't they gorgeous! In Los Angeles, my neighbor's tree produces so much fruit, that they share withe the entire block. I typically will juice tons of them, and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. I also zest a ton of them and freeze it in ziplocks. Both come in handy for smoothies, cakes, cocktails, and just drinking some fancy OJ!

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Cut 2 of the blood oranges into quarters, remove any visible seeds. (if using regular oranges, just quarter one)

PS - aren't they gorgeous! In Los Angeles, my neighbor's tree produces so much fruit, that they share withe the entire block. I typically will juice tons of them, and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. I also zest a ton of them and freeze it in ziplocks. Both come in handy for smoothies, cakes, cocktails, and just drinking some fancy OJ!

 2. Put the quartered oranges into your food processor, skins and all. You may want to remove the white pithy center (it's a bit bitter).  TIP: The amazing thing about these oranges is that the pith is edible, because it's so thin. If you are using regular oranges try find those with thinner skins.

2. Put the quartered oranges into your food processor, skins and all. You may want to remove the white pithy center (it's a bit bitter).

TIP: The amazing thing about these oranges is that the pith is edible, because it's so thin. If you are using regular oranges try find those with thinner skins.

 3. Process until the whole orange is pulverized, like this. Pick out any large pieces of peel, or buzz a couple more times.   

3. Process until the whole orange is pulverized, like this. Pick out any large pieces of peel, or buzz a couple more times.

 

 8. Juice those oranges you just zested, along with the remaining oranges to make approximately 1 cup.

8. Juice those oranges you just zested, along with the remaining oranges to make approximately 1 cup.

 13. Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and put in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes.  Now it's time to make use of that extra sugar and reserved orange juice!

13. Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and put in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes.

Now it's time to make use of that extra sugar and reserved orange juice!

 17. While the cake is still warm, use the skewer to poke 15-20 holes in the cake. Pour over the orange syrup and let cake set for about 20 minutes.

17. While the cake is still warm, use the skewer to poke 15-20 holes in the cake. Pour over the orange syrup and let cake set for about 20 minutes.

 4. Put the flour, 1 cup of the sugar (the other 1/2 cup is for the syrup and brulee later), baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk with your hands until mixed together.

4. Put the flour, 1 cup of the sugar (the other 1/2 cup is for the syrup and brulee later), baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk with your hands until mixed together.

 9. Add the pulverized oranges, 1/4 cup of the blood orange juice, and 1/2 cup of olive oil to the liquid ingredients.

9. Add the pulverized oranges, 1/4 cup of the blood orange juice, and 1/2 cup of olive oil to the liquid ingredients.

 14. Put the reserved OJ and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan. Add 3-4 shakes of Orange Bitters if you have them.

14. Put the reserved OJ and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan. Add 3-4 shakes of Orange Bitters if you have them.

 18. Take the last 1/4 cup sugar and sprinkle over the top of the cake (while still in the mold).

18. Take the last 1/4 cup sugar and sprinkle over the top of the cake (while still in the mold).

 5. Crack the 2 eggs into a medium bowl. Add the plain yoghurt.   

5. Crack the 2 eggs into a medium bowl. Add the plain yoghurt.

 

 10. Mix well with a whisk.

10. Mix well with a whisk.

 15. Boil the mixture until reduced by about a half. Set aside to cool while the cake continues to bake.   

15. Boil the mixture until reduced by about a half. Set aside to cool while the cake continues to bake.

 

 19. Either run it under a hot broiler, rotating the pan every minute or so to evenly caramelize the sugar  OR>>>>>>  Do what I did and fire up your hubby's propane torch and have at it!

19. Either run it under a hot broiler, rotating the pan every minute or so to evenly caramelize the sugar

OR>>>>>>

Do what I did and fire up your hubby's propane torch and have at it!

 6. Grab 2 of the blood oranges and zest them directly into the bowl (if using a regular orange, just one will do)- that way the amazing fragrant orange oil lands right in the batter.   7. Whisk all of this together until mixed well.

6. Grab 2 of the blood oranges and zest them directly into the bowl (if using a regular orange, just one will do)- that way the amazing fragrant orange oil lands right in the batter. 

7. Whisk all of this together until mixed well.

 11. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and add the wet batter to the well.  12. Mix gently with a spatula until all the dry ingredients are no longer visible.

11. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and add the wet batter to the well.

12. Mix gently with a spatula until all the dry ingredients are no longer visible.

 16. When the cake is done, a skewer put in the middle should be clean, like this one.

16. When the cake is done, a skewer put in the middle should be clean, like this one.

 20. I happen to LOVE a crispy, crackling crust so parts of my cake are deep deep brown - almost lacquered.  21. Let the cake (and pan) cool for about 10 more minutes, then unleash this beauty, grab a cup of tea, a friend (or 10), and have a lovely slice of Bruleed Blood Orange Cake!  Oh, and did I mention, heart-healthy olive oil, Calcium rich yoghurt, Vitamin C packed fruit all make for an excuse to make this periodically!

20. I happen to LOVE a crispy, crackling crust so parts of my cake are deep deep brown - almost lacquered.

21. Let the cake (and pan) cool for about 10 more minutes, then unleash this beauty, grab a cup of tea, a friend (or 10), and have a lovely slice of Bruleed Blood Orange Cake!

Oh, and did I mention, heart-healthy olive oil, Calcium rich yoghurt, Vitamin C packed fruit all make for an excuse to make this periodically!

**This is a perfect cake to make even if you are gluten-free. Simply substitute a gluten-free baking mix for the flour, add another egg (that's 3 total), and you should be good to go. Since this is a rustic, dense cake, it's perfect for alternative flours and the moisture from the yoghurt and olive oil will help with a moist crumb. If you are milk allergic, you can sub in a soy or coconut based yoghurt.