Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blood orange cake

I found this recipe by Melissa Clark in the New York times a couple of years back and fell in love with it. Blood orange season runs from December to April and during this time, I bake this cake at least twice. It is a celebration of the blood oranges and olive oil as well. The olive oil flavor is very pronounced - hence it is critical to use a oil whose flavor you like.

The cake has a crisp golden crust and is moist, lightly sweet and studded with those beautiful ruby red and orange bits of blood oranges. The color of the cake inside varies with the olive oil used - lighter the olive oil, whiter the cake.  I have experimented with different flavors of olive oil and the taste is different each time. The cake is great served as dessert with blood orange compote and whipped cream if you want to make it extra special or for tea unadorned.

Blood orange cake with blood orange compote

Blood orange cake

3 blood oranges
1 cup granulated sugar
Plain yogurt (about a little more than 1/3 cup)
3 large organic eggs
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Scant 2/3 cup unfiltered extra virgin olive oil

Honey-blood orange compote, for serving
1.      Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.      Line an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 3/4" loaf pan with parchment paper. Grate the zest from 2 oranges and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub them together until the orange zest is evenly distributed in the sugar.
3.      Supreme an orange: Cut off bottom and top so fruit is exposed and the orange can stand upright on a cutting board. Cut away the peel and white pith, following the curve of the fruit with your knife. [A sharp paring knife works best for this]. Cut orange segments out of their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl. Repeat with another orange. Break up the segments with your fingers to about 1/4-inch pieces. [Please do not chop into tiny pieces – breaking them by hand retains the integrity of the little orange sacs and they don’t get lost in the cake]. Save the membranes for the juice.
4.      Squeeze the juice out of the membranes into a measuring cup. If it is less than ¼ cup, cut another orange and squeeze out the juice till it reaches ¼ cup. Add yogurt to the juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour the mixture into the bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in the eggs.
5.      In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently whisk dry ingredients into wet ones. Switch to a large spatula and fold in oil a little at a time. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
6.      Bake the cake for about 1 hr to 1 hr 10 minutes until it is golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. The baking time will depend on the size and material of the pan. Non-stick pans heat up quicker and the cake will cook faster. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up.
7.      Serve with whipped cream and honey-blood orange compote, if desired.

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.

1 comment:

  1. The compote goes great with the cake and the olive oil balances out very nicely. I tried it with whipped cream as you suggested and it was great! Thanks for posting another great recipe1