We're announcing 2018's "Yes, Please!" Recipe Award. [Drum roll, please.] And, the winner is....
Orange + Almond Olive Oil Cake
Our favorite recipe for the year is modestly sweet, amazingly moist and ever so versatile. At Harbor, we tend to lean on the sweeter side of things (especially in the way of chocolate), but even for those of you who aren't big sweet fans, this one will have you convinced that a little sweetness goes a long way.
We love this cake for several reasons.
1. Versatile: this cake is good for any occasion, simple or elegant; for any season, warm summer days or in the dead of winter. There really isn't a time this cake wouldn't be well suited.
2. All-Around: this cake speaks to all kinds, those who love sweets and those who might otherwise skip dessert.
3. Adaptable: this cake has wiggle room to modify and make it your own (or to just use the ingredients you actually have handy).
4. Moist: soooo....oooooh moist. AND, it becomes moister over time. Yes, this cake can set for days and in only becomes moister. So, don't worry whether it will be eaten in time, because it just gets better by the day - if it actually lasts for days!
5: Taste: this cake uses olive oil as a subtle contrast against the citrus. The cake is a melt in your mouth kind of cake, with lingering flavor, nothing harsh. The almond in the cake is distinctive, yet the cake is delicate enough to enjoy with other complex flavors.
6. Texture: the texture of this cake is soft and a bit spongy, yet sturdy enough to cut into small sizes for finger-food size bites.
Whatever the occasion, whether a birthday party or a baby shower, a potluck or a formal reception, this cake is simple and classy. Like a little black dress, good for all occasions.
And, because of its great texture, this cake can be baked and cut into just about any shape or size you need. It is so moist, yet it will not fall apart on you.
The orange citrus flavor is welcomed throughout the year, whether with the warm days of summer or during the festive Christmas season. We just know this cake will quickly become your signature flavor all year long.
Coming from the beautiful land of Italy, The Orange + Almond Olive Oil Cake uses traditional ingredients from Italy, maximizing local flavor. Combining the citrus sunny flavors with nutty undertones, one is immediately transported to rolling Tuscan hillsides.
Besides, if there is one thing Italians know how to do, it is food! Just how everyone loves pizza, everyone is going to love this cake! Not too sweet, not too orangey and not too bland. Just right.
It seems to never fail that when you find the p-e-r-f-e-c-t recipe, you also find that you are shy one unusual, obscured ingredient that requires driving past your local grocery, and on to a specialty store. We have you covered. Not only does this recipe consist of straight-up basic ingredients, but you also can adapt and modify the recipe a bit to fit your needs.
To be such a delicate and beautiful cake, this recipe is relatively simple and easy to do. Additionally, we have substituted lemon in place of the orange: A-MAZING! Drizzled dark chocolate ganache over top: Oh, yes! Cut the sugar back a bit or partially substituted brown sugar, mixed in white-wheat flour and cake flour on the occasion. Every time, this cake turns out simply wonderful. So, don't be afraid to experiment with the flavor a bit. And go for it with the toppings. Ice cream, fresh whipped cream, raspberries, add a touch of maple or bourbon, maybe?
This cake is oozing it is so moist (not really, of course) but you will be amazed at how moist this cake really is. And, like spaghetti, It gets better the longer it sets. Man, those Italians really have something going!
Keep leftover cake in a sealed container either on the counter or in the fridge. I have even frozen this cake before with no trouble. I placed individual slices in wax paper and laid them in a ziplock bag.
This is really something you're going to have to taste for yourself! Initially, people skip over "Orange + Almond" and head for the cupcakes, cookies and chocolate icing, but hold on! This simple, vintage cake outshines any treat we know. Don't mistake its simplicity as any measure of its flavor.
The other part to consider, this cake blends with other flavors and is a wonderful addition to complete a meal. Not so heavy or sweet that you regret having dessert, rather a light way to finish a meal. Or a nice way to compliment an after-dinner glass of wine.
I know you're ready to skip over the recipe to see if you want to give it a try, but our last reason the Orange + Almond Olive Oil Cake gets this year's "Yes, Please! Recipe Award" is for its insanely soft yet firm texture. It holds up to being transferred from baking pan to the cake stand. It holds up to cutting and placing. It is the softest, most delicate "tough" cake I have ever made. Perfectly consistent and light.
So, let's check out this To-Die-For recipe.
Orange + Almond Olive Oil Cake
1 3/4 c sugar
2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp orange peel OR orange extract
1 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 c whole milk
1/2 c fresh orange juice
3 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp sliced almonds
powdered sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan generously with olive oil.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together orange peel OR extract, olive oil, milk, orange juice, eggs, and almond extract. Slowly add the dry ingredient mixture a cup or two at a time, whisking until combined.
4. Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and top with sliced almonds. Cover the pan lightly with foil to prevent over-browning. return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the center is set. Cake's center should be golden brown.
5. Transfer cake to rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the outside of the cake and remove the ring of the springform pan.
6. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.
Make Life Easy
A few tips to help out when you're either in a pinch or a hurry.
Spray the pan with regular olive oil spray; it is easier to do and is more efficient.
You can buy a single-serve orange juice at almost any convenient or grocery store. Simply Orange is pure and yummy and comes in a single-serve size.
If you don't have a springform pan or just want a rectangular size, a 13-inch x 9-inch metal baking pan will do. Just grease as directed and adjust the time. I have done this before and it takes about half the time - great if you're in a hurry! But keep an eye on it.
The powder sugar will dissolve as the cake sits. Simply dust again with a bit more to "freshen up" the cake before serving.
Use the extract. Sure you may be tempted to use the peel from imported blood oranges straight from Sicily, but when first trying the cake out, make it easy on yourself and spend more time enjoying the cake. For those hard-core foodies, feel free to go all out, but those on a tight schedule, don't be torn or feel bad if you skip on the orange (or lemon) peel, it turns out amazing with the extract!
If you have lemon extract and orange juice or lemonade and orange extract, feel free to blend them and use what you have on hand. Just be sure to keep measurements correct and I think you will be pleasantly surprised!
We hope you and your loved ones are able to wrap up this year with something yummy and that you have a go-to recipe in the year to come. Let us know what you think about this year's "Yes, Please!" Recipe in the comments below.