Wednesday, July 25, 2012

orange + olive oil cake with a buttermilk-orange zest glaze

i've had this cake tucked into the back of my mind for a long time, and i'm so glad that i finally pulled the trigger and made it happen.

it is a bright and citrus-flavor packed cake with a tender and gentle crumb, thanks to buttermilk. i really think that buttermilk is my new favorite secret weapon for perfect cakes. it makes the crumb and texture just right and adds a subtle (very subtle) bit of tang to baked goods.

make sure to use a good fruity olive oil, i read the backs of 9 bottles of oil today and bought the one that said "fruity" on the back, just to be safe. you definitely don't want a peppery olive oil here. the olive oil flavor comes through very lightly, and keeps the cake nice and moist. (do you hate that word as much as i do? moyyy-ssst.)


the original recipe comes, once again, from the wonderful and amazing deb at smitten kitchen. that lady knows her way around a kitchen.

i couldn't find blood oranges at the local organic mart so i picked up a few beautifully bright navel oranges, and i skipped the part where she supremes the orange because i wasn't sure how i felt about having orange bits in the cake. and, let's be honest, it sounded like more work than i was willing to put in to satisfy my sweet tooth. sometimes, i shortcut recipes purely based on laziness and the intense magnetic pull from the couch and a good book.

honesty, folks. it's a good thing.

i whisked together a quick buttermilk, powdered sugar, orange juice and zest glaze that i drizzled along the top of the cake once it was fully cooled. add the powdered sugar to the liquids, slowly, while whisking furiously, to avoid lumps.

this turned out so good, and i can't wait to make it again with a few twists and tweaks-  lemon or grapefruit in place of the orange, honey in place of the sugar, and perhaps i will infuse the glaze with some rosemary or thyme from my garden.

orange + olive oil cake 

1 cup (200 grams or 7 ounces) sugar
Scant 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
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
zest from 2 washed and dried oranges
freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar
3T buttermilk

preheat oven to 350 degrees. butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

halve orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; you’ll will have about 1/4 cup. add buttermilk  to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. whisk in eggs, extract, half the zest and all of the olive oil.

in another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. 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.

 once the cake is fully cooled, make the glaze- whisk together the rest of the zest, 1 tsp juice and 3T buttermilk and slowly add the powdered sugar. add more powdered sugar if you want it thicker, i like my glaze a little thin.

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