Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Clementine Olive Oil Cake... Tastes like Tuscany

All it took was a bowl of clementines sitting on the kitchen table to inspire me to want to bake a clementine cake of sorts. After the Clementine Olive Oil Cake was finished, it only took one bite to make me feel like I was standing at the top of a hill near Cortona, looking out at the beautiful Tuscany countryside.

Photo Taken in Cortona, Tuscany

Citrus and olive oil played prominent roles in my day-to-day life during the semester I spent in Florence. I would start most of my mornings with a glass of freshly-squeezed blood orange juice and end most of my days with a pasta and vegetable dish sautéed in olive oil. In my weekly cooking classes, I learned Italian techniques and interesting recipes, including how to cook pasta perfectly and how to make an authentic Sicilian cake.

While, I never baked this Clementine Olive Oil Cake or anything that was really similar, something about this cake just brought me back to my months abroad. It tasted sharp, refreshing, and reminiscent of Italy. The denseness and zesty pieces of clementine made this cake seem rustic and organic, like something I'd expect to find in an inconspicuous country bakery, marked only by its aroma.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake (Recipe adapted from A Feast for the Eyes):
Makes one 9" x 5" loaf
  • 1 1/2 cups flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 eggs, room temperature 
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar 
  • 3/4 cup olive oil 
  • 4 clementines (zest, juice, and pulp) 
  • Zest clementines, mix zest with sugar in a large bowl and set aside 
  • Peel clementines and blend a food processor to make about 1 cup pulpy juice, set aside 
  • Add eggs and oil into sugar mixture and whisk until light and incorporated 
  • Add pulpy juice and mix until incorporated 
  • In a small bowl, mix flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt 
  • Slowly add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and whisk until incorporated 
  • Pour into a 9 x 5 loaf pan prepared with either Bakers Joy or Parchment paper and bake for 50 minutes 
  • Cool in loaf pan about 20 minutes and then move to a cooling rack 
  • Cover with saran wrap or move loaf into an air-tight container before bed or once the cake is completely cool to sit for at least 12 hours 
Enjoy with coffee in the morning!

Walt Whitman on the coffee mug ... Must have been an English major!

Happy Baking!

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