Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Finale: Orange-Olive Oil Cake

So, I pondered a while on the last cake of the series. I had a recipe for a blueberry swirl pound cake that was in the lead for a while. Then, I had an idea to create my own apple pound cake (notes are written and it WILL happen one day.) But, then I saw this recipe on Where Women Cook. I was intrigued - nervous, but intrigued. It sounded delicious, but would it be pound cake? Studying the ingredients, all of which were comparable in proportion to those in pound cake (the only exception being the use of olive oil instead of butter), I made the executive decision that this would indeed qualify as a pound cake.

I stepped out of my comfort zone with this cake. But, it was a rewarding experience. I felt so sophisticated, so worldly, and - dare I say - so European. So, feel free to imagine me in my kitchen looking like Giada De Laurentiis, an apron cinched tightly around my tiny waist and a smile upon my beautiful face. You just don't know how close that is to the truth...

Orange-Olive Oil Cake

Nonstick baking spray with flour
4 to 5 large navel oranges
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-3/4 tsp. kosher salt
5 large eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups mild extra-virgin olive oil
Confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup Bundt or tube pan with baking spray and set aside.

Finely grate the zest of 3 or the oranges, then squeeze 4 of them. You should have 1-1/2 cups of juice; if not, squeeze the 5th orange. Set aside.

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

In a bowl, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute. Slowly pour in the granulated sugar and continue beating until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and oil, starting and ending with flour, and beat until just a few wisps of flour remain. Pour in the orange juice and zest and whirl for a few seconds to bring the batter together.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 1-1/4 hours. If the top is browning too much as the cake bakes, cover lightly with foil. Transfer to a wire rack and cool 15 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack and cool completely, then place it in a covered cake stand and let it sit overnight. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.

Special thanks to my neighbors in the Sunshine State for making all of this possible! Really, I couldn't have done this without you.

So, I started by grating the oranges.

Things are already starting to smell good at this point.

Things got really messy at this point. I'll spare you the gorey details but juicing the oranges got a little crazy and pulpy. It took me six navel oranges to get 1-1/2 cups of juice. So, have more than five oranges on hand when you make this.

After I pressure-washed the kitchen table, I moved on to preparing my flour mixture.

Besides the use of olive oil instead of butter, using kosher salt in my baking was also a new experience.

OK, so I'm getting to the batter. I beat the eggs together in a large bowl.

I gradually added the sugar until it was well-blended. The mixture was frothy and pale yellow.

It's time for adding the flour and olive oil alternately.

I always use lightly flavored olive oil under normal circumstances. That's what this recipe needed.

Let me warn you! This batter gets thick!! My hand-held mixture was straining.

But, then I finally added the orange juice and zest and all was right with the world again.

Although I own a can of baking spray with flour, I had never used it. I was a little leery about using it in a tube pan - so many places that could stick. But, all was well and the cake slid out easily.

After the addition of the orange juice, the batter became fairly thin, much thinner than a traditional pound cake. I hope you can see the zest in there. The smell was phenomenal! I changed up the baking directions a little. I baked for an hour and ten minutes at 325. Then, I lowered the heat to 300 degrees and baked for about 10-15 more minutes. I checked for doneness quite often and waited until the crumbs were fairly dry. This will all depend on your oven. So, please adjust your baking time accordingly.

I chose to use my old faithful tube pan. It holds more batter than my Bundt pan and is just more dependable. Plus, you're looking at my favorite part that gets hidden with a Bundt pan - the crusty top! Yum!!

I let this sit overnight before cutting. The cake has the same density as a pound cake. The top is just as creamy and delicious. It is saturated with natural orange flavor. And, the oil from the orange zest leaves you with a nice refreshing little aftertaste. And, somewhere along the line I forgot about sprinkling with confectioners' sugar. I don't think it needed it anyway.  

Sunshine on a plate!


Please check out the other recipes in my pound cake series:

Linked to: Lark's Country Heart, Gooseberry Patch's Recipe Round-up, Prairie Story, Sweet as Sugar Cookies' Sweets for a Saturday, Quit Eating Out's Saturday Swap, Alli-N-Son's Sweet Tooth Friday, Everyday Sisters


  1. Beautiful! I love the flavor of orange in cake! Now I have to check out your other pound cakes!

  2. This looks good, I think I would like to top it off with some Orange Zest Cream Cheese Frosting...:)

  3. So glad folks are starting to explore baking with olive oil! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe with everyone.

  4. I can't describe how good this cake is! I took some to work yesterday and everyone loved it. It's going to be my breakfast this morning, too. The cream cheese frosting with orange zest would be delicious on it. I was excited to see a recipe that called for olive oil. I love olive oil in my other recipes but this was my first using it in a dessert. I never even missed the butter!

  5. Thank you so much for linking up to
    "Made it on Monday"!

    I hope you will visit often :)

  6. Olive oil in a pound cake? Bold move, Kim...and it looks like it paid off! Here's to stepping out of comfort zones, right? :) Thanks for linking up this recipe today...glad to have it!

  7. Never had an olive oil cake, but I'd definitely try, yours looks fantastic. Great pictures, they're making me hungry for a slice!

  8. Hi, I'm stopping by from HBP11. I'm enjoying your blog very much. Love Orange Olive Oil cake!!

  9. LOVE this! Thanks so much for deciding to include it in your Pound Cake Series! I can hardly wait to bake it and EAT it! :)


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