Can we call these the “dog days” of winter? It’s a little dreary outside and the cold has been dragging on for just a little bit too long. Right about now we need just a little spritz of something bright and cheery. Enter the orange: winter’s cheeriest ball of sunshine, becoming ripe and sweet just when we’re ready to call it a season.
This year’s annual Jolly Tomato orange-picking excursion at the La Verne Heritage Park was as good as ever. The oranges seemed to be a little smaller this year (Earlier in the season? More rain = smaller oranges?) but they were the sweetest they’ve ever been. As soon as we got home with our stash we knew we could make something really special with them.
This year we took a suggestion from a friend on our Instagram feed and tried out the California Orange and Olive Oil Cake from Splendid Table. It’s the perfect California-themed winter cake – light but moist, flavorful, and not too heavy.
The original recipe calls for dusting it with powdered sugar, which we loved, but then we decided to give it a little more of a “cake” feel by drizzling it with an orange glaze, and… yum!
- Olive oil and flour for prepping the pan
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- ⅔ cup olive oil (We used California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Loose powdered sugar, for dusting
- Optional: Orange Glaze
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1¼ cup powdered sugar
- Lightly grease and flour a 9" square pan with the olive oil and flour. Shake out the excess flour, and set the pan aside.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Crack the eggs into the bowl and stir to break the yolks, then add the orange juice, zest, and olive oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined, 60 to 70 strokes, or mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Turn the batter into the prepared pan, place the pan in the oven, and bake until the cake is well browned and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 38 to 42 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Let the cake rest on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges, gently pop it out of the pan, and let it rest on the rack until cool, 30 minutes more.
- To serve, dust with powdered sugar; or for a sweeter cake, drizzle with Orange Glaze: Combine ¼ cup orange juice with 1¼ cups powdered sugar, whisk until the mixture is smooth. Drizzle over the cake or over individual servings as desired.
Never baked with olive oil before? You are in for a treat! You’ll end up with baked goods that are moist and fluffy, but with a rich and hearty undertone. Worth noting: Many recipes we’ve seen call for “light” olive oil, presumably so you can avoid having a heavy olive flavor dominate the baked goods. But honestly, we’ve done all of our baking with extra virgin olive oil and we’ve never detected a heavy olive flavor. As always, you can adjust this to your personal preferences.
Bonus: If you live in Southern California, the La Verne Heritage Park is not far from you, and orange-picking season will continue for a few more weeks.