On my way home from vacation, I am usually certain that I will eat nothing but lettuce for the next three weeks. I wasn’t home three days before I was back in the kitchen making this Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake. (There’s a mouth full for ya!) One of the things we brought home from our trip to Siena and Florence (besides a case of wine and heaps of dirty laundry) was 1/2 an open bottle of Vin Santo. For the uninitiated, Vin Santo is a Tuscan dessert wine, usually made from Trebbiano and Malvasia. After they’re harvested, the grapes are dried on straw mats to concentrate the sugars, which gives Vin Santo a beautiful caramel-ly, nutty flavor.
We’re not usually big on sweet wine, but found ourselves easily adopting the Tuscan tradition of ending dinner with a few small biscotti and a tiny glass of Vin Santo. Realizing that *someone* already munched their way through the last of the biscotti we had picked up, I was hunting for a not-too-sweet dessert to try. I immediately thought of a dense, moist, almond olive oil cake that one of my colleagues brought to the office a few years ago. It was so delicious, and in my mind “so Italian.” I loved the way her cake turned out, but I was looking for something a little more delicate. So, I decided to work from a recipe I found in Food & Wine for Orange Olive Oil Cake. Basically, I swapped out part of the flour for almond meal and added a teaspoon of almond extract for good measure. Voila! Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake.
We loved the way this cake came out and loved the way the almond-y flavor of the cake brought out the nuttiness in the wine.
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ cup almond meal
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Powdered sugar (for sprinkling on top)
- Butter (for greasing the pan)
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Grease a 9" cake pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment. Butter the parchment as well and then flour the pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar, orange zest and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil and orange juice. Slowly add the olive oil mixture into the eggs. Stir in the baking powder, almond meal and flour half a cup at a time and mix until smooth.
- Transfer the batter into the parchment-lined pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden. (A toothpick in the center should come out clean.) Let the cake cool completely in the pan before removing.
- Sift powdered sugar on top and garnish with orange zest and chopped, toasted almonds.