Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blossoms and Orange Olive Oil Cake

Tree blossoms. The yards are blanketed in them.


And the rhododendrons - they are late coming to spring's party - but they are here. They're pretty fleeting. One swirl of the Minnesota winds and they scatter. But everything is fleeting, isn't it? The days I thought I would never be able to walk through my home without stepping on a lego or a miniature racing car - are gone. A blip in our history.

And now one of the culprits of my "toy-carpeted home" is in China - for his work in plant pathology.. And his partner in crime is getting ready to go to Mexico - for her work in audiology. I received an e-mail from China today:

"I tried duck blood soup because I am adventurous. It was pretty good! And I took a photo because I am my mother's son."
I saved the photo. Yeah - I saved the entire e-mail. We scatter. But we don't go as far as we think.

I could make an analogy about cake - you bake it and it's fleeting. It's true but not important. What's important is you bake it and you savor. And if you're kind you share.

And if you're smart - you'll make this - for a homecoming, for a picnic or just because it's Thursday. Which is partly why I made it. It was Thursday and the day called for cake. Husband-person was working late again and I got it in my head that he needed to come home to cake. And so he did. And a good one. Just sweet enough (because I am not saccharine - just sweet enough).

I love how olive oil cakes crust on the top and then give way to delicate, melty crumbs. Yin and yang, crunch and smooth, yesterday and today. If I add some Orange Blossom Water - I could declare this an Orange Blossom Cake!

Orange Olive Oil Cake
from the blog: Where Women Cook

Nonstick spray with flour
4-5 naval oranges (or shhh ...1-1/2 cups orange juice) - 3 zested and 4-5 juiced
3-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-3/4 teaspoons - Kosher salt (or shhh ... table salt)
5 large eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups mild extra-virgin olive oil
confectioner's sugar for dusting (I didn't dust - I frequently don't dust)

Position rack in middle of oven. Remove upper rack. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan or tube pan with spray. Really coat it! Don't be shy. This is a sticky batter.

Zest 3 oranges. Squeeze the juice of 4 oranges. If you don't have 1-1/2 cups of orange juice, juice another one. (Or shhh ... add orange juice).

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl (and set aside).

In the bowl of a stand mixer (use paddle attachment) or with a handheld mixer and a la-r-g-e bowl, beat the eggs for one minute.

With mixer on, slowly pour in sugar and beat until well-combined - about 3 minutes. You should have thick, pale yellow ribbons.

On low speed, alternate adding the flour and the olive oil - starting and ending with the flour.

Pour in orange juice and zest and beat until well combined - just 10-15 seconds really.

Pour into prepared pan and cook for 1 to 1-1/4 hours - until a tester comes out almost dry - a few moist crumbs are fine. Mine took 65 minutes. If the top is browning too much, cover with a little foil. Mine did brown a lot. I didn't cover it - I like it. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Turn the pan upside down and flip and cool on rack. You can cool over night - just cover and let it sit. We ate it after 45 minutes!

Before serving dust with confectioner's sugar. Or not.

This would also be good with berries and cream. Or orange curd. Or lemon curd. Or tangerines... or - yes oranges.

Or toasted the next day for breakfast. Or dolloped with creme fraiche... it's a canvas. And it's pretty tasty on its own.

I am learning the secret of cooking with Luce. He passes out fifteen minutes after eating.

That's when you do your prep.

Or you open a window.

And let him sit.

I still don't have the secret as to how to let a pie cool without a paw indentation in it (yes - it's covered with something).  I really need kryptonite to cover my food. And that photo above is apropos of nothing. I just love those double-jointed back legs! I hope they're not fleeting.


Barbara F. said...

This cake sounds luscious, I want to bake it now!! xo

That Girl said...

I love blankets of blossoms!

Chiara said...

a delicious cake and a lovely cat ! Have a nice week Claudia !

Sandra said...

Delicious cake Claudia, and cat is so adorable! Have a lovely week ahead

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Love love love cake! What a pretty kitty you know I am a cat lover!

Gloria Baker said...

delicious cake Claudia! and lovely cat!xo

Kitchen Riffs said...

Great looking cake! I know all about using olive oil in cakes, but have never done it - definitely something I should try, because I love the idea. We always time the feeding of our cat to when we need to be active in the kitchen, too. Works every time. I always invert a big colander or bowl over cakes, pies, etc that are cooling - that way our cat can't get at them (in theory she's not allowed on the counter, but as far as she's concerned that theory doesn't apply when we're not there to see her). Fun post - thanks.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Your olive oil cake is giving me cravings -- and I'm trying to work off the pounds I gained in Italy. But down the road, I'll be making it.

Reeni said...

There's nothing better after a long day than coming home to a homemade cake! This is a beauty - just like your kitty companion!

chow and chatter said...

lovely cake and your comments about your kids made me smile hugs

ChgoJohn said...

This is one beautiful cake. I bet your dinner mates' eyes light up when you bring it to the table.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderfully fragrant and moist cake! Very tempting.

Your cats are real beauties!



Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Yes, a very tempting cake. With berries and cream for dessert please and tomorrow for breakfast.

So glad to spring has come up your way Claudia. The winds do tend to scatter the rhododendron's flowers here too. Our mountain laurel is beginning to bloom too.

Angie's Recipes said...

What a beautiful and tempting orange cake, Claudia.
Love your kitties :-)

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, The moments are fleeting. I remember when the house was filled with lego's and now...
I was right there with you thinking of all the different toppings for this delicious cake! Blessings dearest. Catherine xoxo

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

MMMMMmmmm..this cake looks so moist and luscious, Claudia! I'd hope it would come out as well here if I made it, because our high altitude seems to take all the moisture out of cake. Perhaps the olive oil in this cake would be the solution to that problem?

Beth said...

Your cake looks great, and I love the idea of serving it with berries, or with orange curd. Yum!

And isn't it humbling to watch our kids grow up? I was looking at my two tall girls the other day and remembering when they used to stand on chairs to help me at the counter.


I love the pretty blanket spread. I'm happy that you see different colors instead of the white blankets you've had for the longest time.
Your son is definitely an adventurous eater. I have never tried duck blood soup myself. I love how you describe him as the culprit of lego-carpeted home. I'm smiling as I read it because mine is here for the first part of his summer break. Short but yeah I'm savoring the days spent with him.
Have a great weekend!

Juliana said...

Your cake looks beautiful Claudia...light and so fluffy...I need to try this recipe with the olive oil...I will let you know.
Have a lovely weekend :)

Amy said...

the blossom in your garden is beautiful. Love that color. :) I've never tried an olive oil cake before. With a nice crumb and tender interior, what a perfect compliment of each other. And the orange blossom water sound divine with this cake too. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend.

Lori Lynn said...

"I frequently don't dust." Ha!
Love your post, the cake sounds awesome. Me, the non-baker, just might try it, I've got lots of oranges on the tree still...

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

Oh another superb olive oil cake to bake! And from a magazine that I LOVE to read and dream with! I love your double-jointed puddy-tat! We have 3 that literally sleep on that backs spread eagle! Friends and family always get a good laugh when they 'perform' their antics! Happy Memorial Day Claudia and enjoy your flowers!!!!!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Happy Friday, dear!



Kathy said...

Claudia, Your cake looks so moist and delicious! Definitely my kind of cake…perfect with my tea!

Torviewtoronto said...

cake looks fabulous

tinyskillet said...

Love this post and love this cake! I will definitely have to try and bake this because it's Thursday cake! :) It sounds perfect for me, not too sweet, and would like it toasted for breakfast.

My daughter(one and only) just got her driver's license, wasn't it yesterday she was driving in the little red plastic car with our puppy?!

My Little Space said...

Howdy Claudia! time flies! Those blossoms look incredible. Hope you're having a fabulous spring time. Btw, that cake sounds good with my tea. lol.
Kristy ((hugs))

AdriBarr said...

So you are a cat person! Me too. My friends, Carmela, Julius and Angelo can get pretty tricky in the kitchen, offering endless hours of mischevious taste testing!

Your olive oil cake looks fabulous! I will have to try it. Thanks!

QembarDelites said...

This cake looks so yummy I am pinning it!