American

The Olive Oil Cake That Almost Wasn't

by:
May  5, 2019
Photo by embelts
Author Notes

I am not a recipe-following person. I look at them, sure, and sometimes I even mean to follow them, but I almost never do. This recipe is a riff on Maialino's Olive Oil Cake. Modifying it was easy, the hard part was keeping track of what I did!

Here, I cut the sugar a bit and substituted half the flour for whole wheat -- and it was still so moist, I would definitely go full whole wheat next time. I also don't keep Grand Marnier on hand, so I doubled the fresh orange juice and threw in a big splash of bourbon (which, no, of course I did not measure).

This cake, while very liquidy going into the oven, comes out a beautiful golden brown and is INCREDIBLY moist. I learned this the hard way when I tried to turn it out of the cake pan, and it split into two, half-moon style! My coworkers still loved it, even though it was presented in the mosaic-looking style pictured here. —embelts

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes one standard 9" cake, plus a small loaf tin
Ingredients
  • zest of one medium orange
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • several pinches salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/3 cups olive oil - this is where you'd use the good stuff!
  • 1-1/4 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, about 1-1/2 medium oranges
  • large splashes bourbon, optional
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9" round cake pan. If using a pan that is only 1-1/2" deep (mine was, and I only have one), butter an additional small loaf pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom. Skip the parchment at your own risk! I did, and this is what caused the cake to split coming out of the pan....
  2. Zest one medium orange into a large bowl. Use this orange for some of the juice needed later. Add sugar to bowl and mix with your hands to combine and release the citrus oils. The sugar will turn orange. To this bowl, add both flours, salt, baking soda and powder, and whisk to combine.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk eggs, olive oil, milk, orange juice, and bourbon (if using). Mix dry ingredients into wet, just until combined. The batter will be quite liquidy.
  4. Pour batter into pan(s) and bake on the center oven rack for 40-45 minutes if using two pans as I did; one large cake should take about an hour. The cake(s) will be golden on top and a fork will come out clean when done, though it will look and feel like it's not quite set.
  5. Transfer the cake(s) to a rack and let cool. Loosen the sides with a spatula and carefully(!) turn out onto the rack. Remove parchment paper and let cake cool completely.

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