Citrus Olive Oil Cake, rich and aromatic, so moist it lasts for days, with a beautiful crust housing the most delicious flavors of olive oil, Meyer lemon and orange.
Song of the day: Something got me started, by Simply Red.
Citrus fruits and extra virgin olive oil must be two of the most common items to find in our kitchen. We make sure never to run out of either one, in fact, we have always good supplies of both.
As for citrus fruits, our fridge crisper holds lemons, limes, oranges of all kinds, mandarines, clementines, grapefruits, according to season availability. You hardly see me eating an orange as a fruit, what I like to do is to squeeze them to make a "spremuta d'arancia" (freshly squeezed orange juice). I was never one to like any kind of store bought fruit juices, I grew up on spremuta and that was the only "juice" you would have at our house, kindly prepared by my father, with a vintage orange juicer. The kind that you have to press the orange half into a spinning cone, sending the machine into obnoxious waling.
When I make my "spremuta", sometimes I like to add mandarins and/or lemons to oranges to build a more fragrant flavor. Other than freshly squeezed, the lemon/lime/orange zest is something you find very frequently in our recipes, both in baking and cooking.
I had already made a Cherry, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake, and a Fig, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake, both adapted from a recipe found on Food52, and both with a beautiful texture and an incredible flavor. What I missed was a Citrus Olive Oil Cake and when I saw that Food 52 had a version called "Maialino's Olive Oil Cake" I was enthralled. The recipe is from Maialino Restaurant in New York City, where they serve it at breakfast in muffin form or turn it into a birthday cake, layered with mascarpone buttercream. I was more than ready to give it a try and although I did some changes swapping some all purpose flour with whole wheat flour, and the Grand Marnier liqueur with an Orangello liqueur we bought at Eataly in Rome, I decided to keep the amount of olive oil intact, even if I 'gasped' a little when I first read that I would need 1 and ⅓ cups, 285 g, of olive oil. Holy moly. I would suggest to cut back the oil a little bit, so I put 1 cup in the recipe and that would still preserve that olive flavor and moist texture.
There are so many liquids in this recipe other than the e.v.o. oil, the orange juice, the Orangello liqueur, the milk, so the batter is very liquidy, but do not worry, it still rises beautifully, the top crackles which is a good sign, and when you cut into it, it holds perfectly.
This Citrus Olive Oil Cake is also pretty easy and fast to make. I would suggest having all the ingredients ready, then, it's more the wait for it to bake than the actual preparation. It needs about 1 hour in the oven, but since all ovens seem to bake at their own time and temperature, I would check it with a skewer at about 50 minutes or so, to make sure it doesn't overbake and burn.
Citrus Olive Oil Cake is a beautiful cake that would make your house smell amazing of grass and citrus. If you close your eyes you could feel you are laying on a freshly mown grassy field under an orange blossom tree in some Mediterranean country.
The addition of the whole wheat flour and raw cane sugar makes for a darker cake in color, but also provides a lovely nutty/caramelized undertone. Our only concern, when biting into it, was the amount of olive oil. It seemed to drench the cake a bit while leaving your fingers very oily. The bonus point is that its moistness lasted for days in the glass-domed stand.
I love the way the crust holds this crispness and has that wonderful caramelized flavor. As we venture into the interior we are pleasantly enticed by the density and flavors. The olive oil holds the moisture in this cake giving it richness and the Meyer lemon and orange have just enough acidity balancing this bundt cake to no ends. This cake does not have frosting or layers of decorative design but I will say in its own right is simply elegant!
Song of the day: Something got me started, by Simply Red.Print