Blood Orange Cake

This cake is awesome.  Awesome I tell you.  It’s perfectly moist, the oranges and olive oil work exceedingly well together giving it a fruity, just-the-tiniest-bit bitter flavor, and I didn’t take a single photo of it.  You’ll just have to settle for my glowing recommendations, because I was literally standing by the oven waiting to snatch it out and dash to my car (running in the driveway) to be on my way.  I was bringing this to a lunch date (Hi Mama!) I had  last week and as per usual I was just on the edge of being late. I did take some lovely action shots while I was baking though, so hopefully you can all forgive me for not showing you the finished product.

Actually, as seems to happen to me so often, I came upon this cake because I was trying to use up some random fruit I had laying around.  My husband bought a bag of blood oranges and then ate only two of them before going out of town and leaving me with like 47 of them to find something to do with. Well, maybe not 47, but several anyway. I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, which is one of my favorite sites, and I must say, for being a combination of ingredients that I wouldn’t have put together it has turned out to be a really good cake.  And versatile, too, since I imagine that it would quite easy to substitute the blood oranges for any other fruit you have laying around for much the same result.

It came together pretty easily, and I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about the olive oil, being an all-butter advocate myself, but I really enjoyed the flavor in the finished product – it is pretty mild with just a hint of fruitiness, but it really makes for a moist cake that holds up well for a couple of days.  So run along and make your own.  You know you want to.

In other news, it’s only February and I already have daffodils.  I’m not sure, but I think winter is having an identity crisis.  Happy Spring!  Or whatever!

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 blood oranges
1 cup (200 grams or 7 ounces) sugar
Scant 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk or plain yogurt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (156 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups (219 grams or 7 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 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 (My sugar was all pretty and pale orange!).

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.

Halve remaining orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; hopefully you’ll have about 1/4 cup but however much it is, don’t sweat it because you’re going to  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 and olive oil.  My batter was a lovely shade of pink at this point, which gave me high hopes for a pink cake, but alas.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake for 50 to 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.