Olive oil and Almond Cake topped with Winter Citrus Fruits!
It’s January and the cycle of seasonal fruits and vegetables start to turn towards Spring. Gone are the apples and pumpkins of Fall and early Winter. Yet to come are the berries of Spring. Nestled in between these two seasons is the gift of citrus. Oranges and grapefruits, clementines and tangerines, they bring lightness and color to the dreary days of January and February.
In celebration of the lengthening days, I made an Olive Oil and Almond Sponge Cake, topping it with Winter citrus fruits. It’s light and tangy-sweet, touched with the flavors of orange and grapefruit.
The cake begins with citrus fruit. I like to use an assortment of fruits, for their different colors and ranges of sweetness. Today I chose pink grapefruit, navel oranges and, since I couldn’t find a blood orange, I grabbed a bag of Cara Cara oranges. They claim to be “The Pink Orange” and while I think pink would be stretching it they did bring another color to my topping.
I brushed the bottom of my pan with melted butter and sprinkle an ample amount of Demera sugar over it before layering on my fruits. I placed a large circle of Ruby Red Grapefruit in the center and then circled it with thin slices of oranges. As the cake bakes the fruit will mix with the sugar creating a jam like topping. Almost like a sweet marmelade.
I made a simple sponge cake batter next, substituting olive oil for melted butter and mixing in some almond flour with the regular flour.
Beat together eggs and sugar until they are very light in color and thick. Whisk in the flavorings (vanilla and almond extract) then slowly whisk in the olive oil. The easiest way to do this is to pour it in a thin stream while the mixer is on. It should take a least a minute to add the oil. Continue to whisk it in until it is fully incorporated.
Mix the flours and leavening agents together then add them to the eggs mixture. Whisk it together until just combine, scraping the bottom and sides of the mixer to make sure it is all mixed in.
Pour the batter over the fruits in the pan and spread it evenly if need be.
Bake the cake until it is done. The top should spring back when touched and the interior should reach a temperature of 200 degrees F.
Once the cake is out of the oven, let it cool for ten minutes before turning it out of the pan. Run a knife along the edge to loosen it. Cool completely before serving.
OLIVE OIL AND ALMOND CAKE TOPPED WITH WINTER FRUITS
- 2 tbs butter
- ¼ c sugar
- 2 tbsp Demera sugar
- Zest of one lemon
- 4-5 Winter citrus fruits
- ¾ c flour
- ½ c almond flour
- ¼ c sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 2 eggs
- ½ c sugar
- 2 tbsp grated orange peel
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ½ c good quality olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
MAKE THE FRUIT TOPPING
- Brush the sides and bottom of a 9” cake pan with melted butter.
- Mix the two sugars and the zest of one lemon together in a small bowl. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it is moist and fragrant. Sprinkle the sugar mixture all over the bottom of the prepared pan. Pick up the pan and move it so the sugar also gets on the sides.
- Peel the fruits and slice thinly. Remove any seeds. Arrange the fruit on top of the sugar in the pan in a decorative pattern.
MAKE THE CAKE
- In a bowl mix together the flours, ¼ cup of sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking powder.
- Put the eggs, ½ cup of sugar and the orange zest in the bowl of a mixer and whisk until the mixture turns a very light yellow and is quite thick. Whisk in the vanilla and almond extract. Add the olive oil in a thin stream while the mixer is on medium. Continue to whisk until the oil is well mixed in. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add the flour mixture and whisk until it is just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Pour the batter into the pan on top of the fruit. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly if needed.
- Back the cake for 35-40 minutes until the top springs back when touched and an instant read thermometer placed in the center of the cake reaches 200 degrees.
- Cool the cake for ten minutes in its pan then turn out on a plate to cool completely.
Notes: Any combination of winter citrus fruit will work. I used pink grapefruit, navel oranges and Cara Cara oranges. The cake will keep on the kitchen counter, well wrapped, for a day or two. Any longer and it should be stored in the refrigerator.