The fact that I don’t necessarily LOVE sweet treats (well, I have my own definition when it comes to sweets) makes this orange scented olive oil cake – with plenty of salt, I might add – just perfect for my palate.
The bitter pith of the oh, so sweet oranges boils away to almost nothing, but still leaves a hint of savory, along with the generous glugs of olive oil in this recipe to make it just right.
Oh, and yes, the fantastical depth of Grand Mariner liqueur, along with extra crunchy sea salt and a fruity olive oil as a drizzle mean this cake can be eaten at any time of day.
I think I prefer to savor the bites of my on the cobblestone streets of Sicily.
You never know…dreams do come true, as I’m told.
In any case, not-too sweet, somewhat dense, this mother of a cake is served perfectly with a tart honeyed yogurt, drizzled with additional fruity olive oil, and lots of crunchy salt.
Just do it.
Mangia! (read with an intense Italian accent, of course!)
The aromatic orange as these little cakes are baking may just put you into an altered state.
Sicilian Orange Salted Olive Oil Cake
2 1⁄3 cups sugar, divided
butter, for greasing the pan
2 1⁄2 cups flour, + more for pan
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. Grand Marinier liqueur
6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup sugared orange water syrup**
1⁄4 cup powdered sugar
coarse sea salt, for garnish
**See instructions below
Trim about 1⁄2” from the tops and bottoms of oranges; quarter oranges lengthwise. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; add oranges. Bring water back to a boil; drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh water. Put oranges, 1 cup sugar, and 4 cups water into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and orange rind can be easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature. Reserve the sugared orange water to reduce into a syrup.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10″ round cake pan (or three smaller pans) with butter and dust with flour; line pan bottom with parchment paper cut to fit. Set pan aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. Remove orange quarters from sugared orange water, remove and discard any seeds, and put oranges into the bowl of a high speed blender (Vitamix). Process until oranges into a smooth purée. Add remaining sugar, reserved flour mixture, vanilla, Grand Mariner, and eggs and process until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add olive oil; process until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes.
In a small saucepan, reduce the remaining sugared orange water by at least 1/2, in order to create about 1/4 cup total. Add powdered sugar to make a thin glaze. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a cake stand or plate. Using a pastry brush, brush orange glaze over top and sides of cake. Let the cake(s) cool completely.
Garnish with coarse sea salt.
Serve with a tangy honey yogurt and additional olive oil.