23 February 2010

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake.... a Real Sensation!!!

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Blood oranges are juicy, sweet with  a dark red interior and are slightly less acidic than regular table oranges. Originally from Sicily (Italy) and Spain the blood orange has gained in popularity and can be found fresh or in juice form in many local grocery stores. Blood oranges contain a pigment called anthocyanin which is not typically found in citrus but rather more common in other red fruits and flowers. Not only is the inside of the orange darkly pigmented but depending on the variety the outside may also have dark washes of red. What we find here in our stores probably are grown in either California of Texas. U.S. grown blood oranges are in season from late fall to early spring.

As Elise of Simply Recipes says, "Those of you who love blood oranges don't need to be told how exquisitely wonderful they are. In the kingdom of citrus, blood oranges are royalty. You know that every bite is an explosion of sweet, deep orange flavor, with hints of raspberry."  If you've never had a blood orange, or have shied away from them because of the name, think "Sangria" which in Spanish means "blood" and get yourself to a store that carries them. You will be delighted by them."

I brought my first blood oranges of the season home from the store with the thoughts of making an olive oil cake. Since blood oranges are grown in Italy and Spain I thought an olive oil cake would be the perfect marriage of flavours. Olive oil is used for baking in countries, instead of butter, where there's plenty of it. It makes your cakes dense and rich and faintly fruity. Last year I made a delicious Orange Olive Oil Cake from a recipe from Canadian chef Anna Olson. Her recipe would have worked beautifully with the blood oranges but I decided to try something new . I guess that is the food blogger in me:D Sometimes you are just afraid to upset the proverbial apple cart and don't want to mess with perfection. Well sometimes you just have to take the plunge when you find a recipe that just sounds amazing. I mixed gently, watched my masterpiece in the oven closely, waited impatiently for it to cool, sprinkled it liberally with icing sugar and then sliced into it. And amazing it was!!!! There is just something about olive oil cake that just "turns my crank":D With this experiment I was happy to find the results were a perfectly cooked and delicately crumbed cake. I know this is something I will be making again and again in it's simplicity.

You will also see that the recipe calls for buttermilk. Every cook should have a quick fix substitute ready because, I don't know about you, but buttermilk is not an item that is usually in my refrigerator. Few recipes today require buttermilk, but, when you do make buttermilk recipes, you know what happens. The rest of the buttermilk container from your last buttermilk recipe tends to get lost in the fridge, and you end up tossing  it when it expires. By adding acid in the form of either one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk, you can create a buttermilk substitute. Unfortunately, the rich tang that is found in true authentic buttermilk will not be there. Vinegar works best, but lemon juice will work in a pinch, so never discount it. You can also substitute the same amount of plain yogurt that you would need of buttermilk. Again, the tang found in buttermilk will not be present, but since yogurt is also rich the recipe will not suffer. Or...this is the easiest substitute of all. Use plain old milk. That’s right, plain milk. Buttermilk is simply the liquid that is removed in the butter making process. Buttermilk is actually low in fat, which most people don’t expect. To thicken the milk and make it slightly sour, add 1-3/4 teaspoons of cream of tartar to an eight-ounce cup of regular milk.

One word of warning if your blood oranges are fully ripe juicing and supreming your oranges will be an extremely messy business!!! You will really see why they call them blood oranges!!

Salute a cent’anno (health for a hundred years) !!!

Before we move on to the recipe just a friendly reminder that the H2Ope for Haiti raffle is on until Sunday February 28th to raise funds for Concern Worldwide and their efforts to bring water and relief to the earthquake victims of Haiti.

One raffle ticket will give you the chance to win your choice of wonderful prizes donated by some fabulous bloggers. How's about an I-Pod Shuffle, an autographed copy of David Lebovitz's latest cookbook, Indian artwork or many more exciting prizes. I donated a child's backpack (16" x 12") featuring the official Olympic and Paralympic Games mascots Quatchi, Miga, Sumi and Mukmuk. In addition, there is a warm, snuggly micro fleece winter throw (39" x 60") with a large print of official Olympic mascot Quatchi - perfect for brightening up any child's room. These make a perfect keepsake of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics for any boy or girl. PRIZE CODE: HFH16.

 Check out this site for a complete list of prizes and GOOD LUCK!!!! 

 Although each person's donation may be small, even single drops of water will eventually fill a swimming pool.

Many thanks!!!!!

**Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake**
based on a recipe from A Good Appetite: Secrets of the Cake Stand
Print me....

Butter for greasing pan

3 blood oranges
1 cup sugar
Buttermilk (will be added to juice to be equivalent to approximately 2/3 cup)
3 large eggs
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Icing sugar for finishing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 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.

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. You will have about 1/4 cup or so. 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.

 In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently whisk dry ingredients into wet ones. Switch to a spatula and fold in oil a little at a time. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Scrape batter into pan and smooth top.

Bake cake for about 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. Serve with whipped cream and honey-blood orange compote, if desired. I adore my olive oil cake sprinkled liberally with icing sugar!!!

Serves 8 - 10

Note: To make a honey-blood orange compote, supreme 3 more blood oranges according to directions above. Drizzle in 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir gently.

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  1. As you may know, I'm not much of a dessert person but I've tried pound cakes made with olive oil and always enjoyed them. The added bonus of blood oranges is really appealing. If we lived closer, I'd come over for a cup of coffee and a slice.

  2. Val, I love cake and this one is right up my alley. It's very clever of you to combine these two ingredients. I'm, with Joan. If I lived closer I'd invite myself over for a slice with a strong cup of coffee.

  3. Valli this look georgeous!! I love this type of cakes and this recipe is awesome.
    I love your picture!! xxxx gloria

  4. I love olive oil cakes! This one sounds especially, perfectly posh with these gorgeous blood oranges!

  5. This looks great. I love blood oranges!

  6. I'll invite myself over too.

    Love the light and the tulip in your photo.

  7. Original and delicious, I'm sure! Very different...



  8. I bet it tasted divine. Good tips on the buttermilk

  9. I am going to buy some blood oranges after seeing this post. I hope I can find some good ones!

  10. I need to try my hand at olive oil cake. I haven't made one yet and this is calling my name.

    Blood oranges are fun!

    I so hear you on the buttermilk thing. When I buy it, I do try to make more recipes out of it before it goes bad, but you can only eat so many biscuits and pancakes before your waistline starts to protest.

  11. I've never tried blood oranges. You're right - it might be the name. I'll have to pick up some Sangria oranges next time I spot them.

  12. Oh, my Nonna made the BEST olive oil cakes! One of my favorites has lemon. And my Sicilian father buys blood oranges whenever he sees them. I will absolutely use this combination-great post
    xoxo Pattie

  13. I love blood oranges, too. Though I don't eat them as often as I'd like because sometimes they are hard to find in my corner of the world.

    Lovely cake and great event for Haiti. I've been so busy with my other project that I've been disconnected of this side of the blogosphere for a while, but I'll check it out right now.

  14. This looks gorgeous and hope it would impress my guests very much. Great share!

  15. I can imagine that this cake must be so fragrant and moist!!!!

  16. I want a slice of this with some espresso!
    I was at the market this weekend and the blood oranges looked so small.. I am going to wait another few days till a new load comes in.

    I also am one to hardly ever have buttermilk in my fridge.. but I always prefer the taste of baked goods when I do use it.
    Ciao.. :)

  17. I've been dying to make an olive oil cake! And olive oil ice cream.
    And because blood oranges are fabulous, your cake is the perfect answer. Great recipe...I can't wait to try it on my family!

  18. i love the burst of flavor that comes from the blood orange. in fact, i love it so much that i'm not sure i could part with three of 'em to make this cake! :)

  19. Oh my goodness I just had some amazing olive oil sent to me from Napa Valley!! This looks like an amazing way to try it out.

  20. I tried blood oranges for the first time recently and absolutely fell in love with their taste and color. This cake sounds fantastic! I didn't realize they were from Italy...

  21. I love blood oranges - great cake for tea time.

  22. Using olive oil allows the flavor of the blood oranges and other ingredients to come forth. It also helps to naturally maintain the freshness for baked cakes. The idea of blood oranges is really appealing.

  23. This looks really wonderful and I love the backstory you did for us. I learn something everytime I come here.

  24. Citrus is right up my street Val, and I wanr blood oranges (*sulk*). I'd love to make this. It's beautiful, but we are just not a 'blood orange' country he he!
    BTW, I keep buttermilk in my fridge at all times, and am now cutting back on my coffee/milk and substituting it with a glass of buttermilk instead!

  25. That cake looks just lovely. I've never had a blood orange before...

  26. I love cakes and desserts with olive oil in them...that subtle savory flavour that flies juuust under the radar.

  27. The texture of this cake looks amazing. And the flavors I am sure work very well together ... I am a definite fan of cakes such as this one that I can enjoy with a steaming cup of coffee.

  28. I haven't made a pound cake in a long time and have never made a cake with olive oil. This looks delicious.

  29. Wowzer, this sounds good. And, as luck would have it, I happen to have some blood oranges in at the moment. I will HAVE to try this!

  30. This is a great cake, I tried it once.... thanks for your posting...I add toasted walnuts to the mix as well...

  31. This looks like a fantastic cake! This is the peak of citrus season, I will be making this soon!

  32. simple plain greek cake uses oranges and olive oil - this is a cherished taste from childhood

  33. Val, what a gorgeous cake. Blood oranges are so beautiful and I love the buttermilk in the cake.

    You've done so much for the tragedy in Haiti. Bless you.

  34. I love having a piece of coffee cake or a bread like this one in my cake stand. Sadly, my cake stand is empty today. I have some baking to do.

  35. * p E R F E C T ! *
    This looks simply amazing...
    Goodness.........I'm going to try it !!!
    Thank You !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Wow thats awesome.I have never thought if using Olive oil for baking cakes..this is incredible.Looks fantastic.

  37. This looks absolutely delicious. I am a sucker for anything with citrus in it and this looks so moist and incredible.

  38. I've been looking for an olive oil cake BUT you're showing me one with olive oil AND BUTTERMILK! I love buttermilk and I love cooking/baking with it.
    Before I found enough recipes and ways to use it before it past a good till date ... drum roll here ... I froze it in ice cube trays and then sealed it in plastic bags until I needed it. It's not much good to drink after it's frozen but it bakes just dandy.
    Your cake looks ideal to me.

  39. Wow Val, this sounds terrific, I'm dying to try it, I adore blood oranges, and olive oil of course! I love the way you style your photo's, I'd love a slice of that now.

  40. i am a fan of olive oil which I purchase from the producer !! and i also use it in cakes so I am not surprised of the success of your recipe !! Pierre

  41. I had my first blood oranges at a little stand outside of Pompeii it was love at first taste!! what a great recipe...cant wait to try it

  42. This recipe is great and since this is blood orange season,i'll definitely give a go and add some of the zest as well

  43. AnonymousMay 27, 2010

    I have some blood orange olive oil from Stella Cadente i have been waiting to use... this is perfect!
    Your photos are incredible!

  44. Dear Val,

    I just recently found your site and love it!! I just made your blood orange and olive oil cake. I followed the recipe to a 'T'(with the exception that I did add the additional juice from supreming the oranges - perhaps I should not have). I baked it for extra time and when I turned it out of the pan, a large portion stuck to the bottom of the pan, it did not rise well, and the olive oil taste was very strong - wondering if you had any suggestions for my next try??!!

    Thanks so much,

  45. The size of the pan always makes a difference when making a cake. When making an olive oil cake the quality of the olive oil also makes a big difference!!!! probably the most important aspect. I believe this recipe came from the New York Times and it worked well for me.


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