This light and moist cake will carry you through the holidays and, for that matter, any day. Redolent with orange and cardamom and spiked with Grand Marnier, it's delicious for brunch or afternoon tea and spiffy enough for dessert. Almond flour adds a slight nuttiness and wholesome crumb to the cake. Do not skimp on the orange zest, as it adds a zing of citrus flavor and fragrance. The sea salt is optional in the glaze, but if you lean that way, really go for it.
The flavors of the cake will develop while it cools, and the glaze will ensure lasting moistness, which makes this cake an entertainer's best friend. Store the cake at room temperature for up to three days, but it will likely be eaten before that.
Orange Cardamom Olive Oil Cake
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour plus cooling time
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
• 4 large eggs
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
• 1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated orange zest
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup almond meal
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
• 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)
• Pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch spring-form pan; line with parchment and butter the parchment.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light in color. Add the olive oil, orange juice, zest, vanilla and almond extracts and stir to blend.
Combine the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the wet ingredients, stirring to blend without overmixing. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. Combine the sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and the liquid reduces to a syrupy consistency, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the liqueur, if using, and sea salt and simmer briefly, about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Transfer the cake from the oven to a wire rack. Brush the top with the glaze and cool 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, and then brush the sides of the cake with the glaze. Cool completely.
Serve dusted with confectioners' sugar and/or with whipped cream. If desired, add a tablespoon of the (thoroughly cooled) glaze to the cream while whipping. Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to three days.
Lynda Balslev is the co-author of "Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture" (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at TasteFood, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to TasteFood@TasteFoodBlog.com. Or visit the TasteFood blog at TasteFoodBlog.com.