Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Olive Oil Cake with Candied Oranges and Cardamom Scented Syrup

Today, I crave for Olive Oil Cake.  Today, I make Olive Oil Cake.

I was first introduced to Olive Oil Cake while visiting New York City.  I had a slice of Maialino's Torta di Olio d' Oliva-- moist, dense yellow cake, not at all sweet with that distinct taste of olive oil in every morsel, served with a dallop of mascarpone cream.  It sounds fantantic, right?  It's even better than that!

Candied Oranges and Cardamom Syrup
(recipe from Bon Appetit)

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup orange blossom honey
3 tablespoons green cardamom pods, crushed
1 small orange, thinly sliced

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring sugar, honey, cardamom, and 3 cups water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add orange slices. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, turning orange slices occasionally, until tender and syrup is reduced to 3 1/4cups, about 40 minutes.

Arrange orange slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; remove cardamom pods and seeds. Strain syrup and set aside.  Refrigerate orange slices until needed.

Olive Oil Cake
(recipe from Bon Appetit)

1/2 cup olive oil plus more for brushing

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour (pasta flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chopped unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 350°.

Brush 9-inch diameter springform pan with oil.

Whisk both flours and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup oil in a large bowl for 1 minute.  Beat in yolks, then flour mixture. Beat in yogurt, zest, and vanilla.

Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until firm peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter just to blend in 2 additions. Transfer to prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Pierce hot cake all over with a metal skewer. Slowly drizzle 3/4 cup warm syrup all over. When syrup is absorbed, slowly pour 3/4 cup more syrup over. Reserve remaining syrup for serving. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack.

Run a thin knife around edge of pan to release cake. Remove pan sides.  Arrange candied orange slices over. Sprinkle pistachios over.

Serve cut into wedges and serve drizzled with more syrup.

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