Several weekends ago we had some friends over for lunch. It was a simple affair focused on catching up. If there was a theme to lunch it was to highlight the seasonal fare that abounds at the farmers market right now. I choose a winter minestrone soup and buttery sourdough buns as there is nothing more satisfying than a hot soup and warm buns on a blustery day. I would post a few pics of the dishes but I was bit too wrapped up in getting everything set for lunch to bother snapping pics. But this post isn’t about soup or bread. It is about cake. An olive oil cake to be exact. With blood oranges.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, I am a huge fan of blood oranges. I know they are a pain to peel and easily stain your shirt but they have such a unique taste. It is almost a very soft, orange but somewhat raspberry taste… that is when you don’t get a tart one.
Now I’ve seen olive oil cakes floating around various food blogs over the years but never ventured into making one. I somewhat blame that on not allowing myself to up and make everything that looks good. I’ve had an eye on Smitten Kitchen’s version since she posted it. And since I was looking to highlight seasonal fare it was a perfect match as blood oranges are still going strong at the market in my neck of the woods.
Blood oranges and olive oil… not just olive oil but good extra virgin olive oil. It works. It really works. Or at least I thought so. It isn’t pretentious, or flashy but something familiar with a twist to make it new and enticing.
I learned a new technique with this recipe too. It’s a technique I have actually seen a few bloggers use recently but never gave much thought to. It is brilliant and makes perfect sense. Often recipes call for zesting whatever citrus fruit you are using and tossing it into the batter. It definitely adds. But this technique calls for rubbing the zest into the sugar with your hands so you release the oils from the zest into the sugar! Mega distribution of flavor!!! And the taste? Do you remember the candy orange slices from back in the day that are covered in sugar? Exactly like that!
The compote that goes with this recipe is a perfect match. We served this with a dollop of whipped cream and the compote but I felt like the whipped cream kind of distracted from the cake. I personally preferred eating it with a spoonful of compote on top. But it is still great however you serve it… plain, compote, whipped cream, etc.
You can find the recipe over on Smitten Kitchen – Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake