Tag Archives: citrus

Olive Oil Cake with Bay & Orange

January 22, 2015

This is a cake to linger over. 
The kind of cake I would make if my dearest girlfriends were in town. The entire afternoon would be spent around the table, deep in delicious conversation, with cup after cup of tea and a slice of this cake.  

The table itself doesn’t really matter, only that there is one. It could be smartly dressed in the crispest white linen, delicate sea foam colored tea cups and glimmers of gold and glass. 

Or it could have nothing of the sort, bare well worn, well loved wood, the softest washed linen napkins and handmade grey mugs with chunky handles, perfect for holding. 


This cake is comfortable in any setting. 


It sticks to the roof of your mouth in the most delightful, not too sweet way. Better than the way peanut butter does; with more elegance. The subtle bay infused olive oil is the backbone of this recipe. 
Its the sticky bit, the rich bit. 
And as your tongue moves to the roof of your mouth, your nose picks up the aroma of the bay. The orange is there too, vibrant but not loud. Its doesn’t compete with the bay or the olive oil. The three are harmonious. 


It is unfussy this cake. In this recipe it has an icing glaze, but it needn’t. It is made in a fancy bunt pan because I wanted to use one but could just as easily be made in a loaf pan. The most important part is infusing the olive oil, everything else just falls into place. 
I combined some of this recipe with some from here. Both recipes are lovely on their own and I would recommend trying each. I must say, I wouldn’t mind having both writers to tea either.


I use a fruity, medium bodied olive oil because I want to taste it in the cake but still want the bay to come through. 
I very gently heat the olive oil. If it gets too hot it will begin to bitter and lose some of its richness. It should be warm to the touch, but not hot. A minutes or so on the heat is all really. Then drop in the bay leaves, 3 or 4, fresh if possible and keep warming over a very low heat until the aroma of the bay hits your nose. Leave on the heat about 5 minutes more, taking care that it does not get too hot. Then remove from the heat and let it stand, 2 hours as a minimum but better overnight. 
You can make a bit extra if you like and use it to drizzle over salads or a goats cheese. Its not a bad thing to have on hand. 



Olive Oil Cake with Bay & Orange

10 bay leaves 
80ml fruity medium bodied olive oil (infused with 3 or 4 bay leaves as above)
150g white flour
50g ground almonds
200g golden caster sugar 
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs 
50ml cointreau 
zest from half a medium orange 
juice from 1 orange 


For the Icing
100 grams icing sugar
1 tbsp cointreau 
3 tsp of almond milk (or regular milk)


Preheat the oven to 180 (350F) degrees 
Grease and flour your pan carefully. 


In a bowl sift together dry ingredients: flour, almonds, sugar and baking powder. 
Then in a small bowl gently beat the eggs together with the salt. Tip into the dry mixture along with the olive oil, cointreau, zest and juice from the orange. Gently stir to combine, making sure the batter is free from any lumps. 


Pour batter in to your greased and floured baking pan. Top the batter with the remaining bay leaves. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour depending on your pan. When a tester is inserted, it should come out clean. 


When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and turn it over onto a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before icing. 


For the icing, combine the sugar with the almond milk and cointreau. Stir well to combine, again making sure there are no lumps. With a spoon drizzle as much or little of the icing down over the top of the cake as you like. 

flowers for friday

June 10, 2011

 the peonies are gorgeous at the moment – voluptuous and the layers and layers of petals remind me of delicate downy feathers. i couldnt resist these pale creamy pink peonies paired with clippings from the lemon tree in the back yard. this is my last post from this apartment – ill be back on monday from the new place. 
happy weekends everyone – 

wine list wednesday

April 20, 2011

all of the fresh spring vegetable are bursting from the farmer’s market – snow peas, mint, pea tendrils and lots of lemons – and so a crisp bright wines was most certainly the only option – 

Terra Robles made by the Robert Hall vineyard. 
its bright on the tongue – perhaps just a hair too acidic, but has nice citrus, grapefruit and pairs nicely with food. what i particularly liked about the terra robles is the lovely mouthful of orange blossom and honey – quite unexpected but very welcome – 
delightfully priced at 9$
pair with fresh pea and mint risotto. 

fruits of labor: fennel, orange and beet salad

August 29, 2009

a little break from the france posts for a minute – i served this salad with delicate fillets of sole and fresh ears of corn for a nice bright summers dinner –
i love this salad its so light and refreshing but still has intense flavor combinations – the bright citrus from the orange the snappy licorice flavor from the fennel and the deep earthy flavor of the beets.
i prefer to roast my own beets, its easy and i think it intensifies and caramelizes the sugars in the beets exposing the rustic flavors of this root vegetable that makes it so wonderful –

serves 6
for this recipe you will need:

12-14 medium sized beets (if you don’t want to roast the beets you can use 3 cans of whole baby beets drained)

4 medium or fist sized oranges plus the zest of one orange

1 large fennel bulb

3 tbsp of orange muscat champagne vinegar (trader joes has a great one)

1/2 tsp of red wine vinegar

3/4 of a small red onion

olive oil
salt and pepper

preheat oven to 400.
begin by roasting the beets – remove beets from greens and scrub the outsides. then cut each beet in half and place cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. i like to leave a bit of the stems and a bit of the tip on – it makes removing the skin after roasting a bit easier – see photo below – drizzle the beets with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper – toss to make sure beets are well coated and that the cut side of each is against the foil – place in the oven and roast approx. 40 minutes or until you can insert a fork all the way through the beet.

while the beets are roasting – add the zest of one orange into the bottom of a larger bowl – then cut and section each of the four oranges – the easiest way to do this is to straight cut off the top and bottom of each orange, then in a curved motion cut from top to bottom of the orange with a knife to just remove skin and pith. then over the bowl – insert knife on the inside of each section and cut toward the center when you reach the center pivot the knife to cut back out toward you on the inside of the opposite section. if you are not sure what i mean there are some videos on youtube that can help. once you have removed all of the sections squeeze the juice from the discarded part over the bowl. do this for each of the four oranges. when you have finished slice the fennel bulb into approx. half inch slices then quarter each of those slices so that you have more manageable pieces and add them to the orange sections and juice. then mince 3/4 or a small red onion and add it to the bowl – after doing this add the 3 tbsp of orange champagne vinegar and and a good pinch of salt, stir and let macerate together while the beets continue to roast.


when the beets are tender remove from the oven and let stand until they are just cool enough to handle (if they cool for too long you will have a hard time removing the skin) – here is why i leave the tip and a bit of the tops on the beet – with a knife cut slice off the tip and the top you should be able to slide your knife tip or finger under the skin and peel it back – repeat this for all of the beets – then cut into large chunks and add to the bowl with the orange, fennel and onion. when you have finished peeling and cutting the beets add the remaining 1/2 tsp of red vine vinegar, and approx 1/2 a tsp of salt and pepper to the bowl – stir together. At the very end drizzle the whole salad with 1 tbsp of good olive oil and stir to combine – chill for approx. 1 hour or up to a day ahead and serve. it is also excellent served with a round of fried goat cheese on top!
YUM!