How many times have you tried a new recipe and upon taking that first bite, knew you had a “keeper”? Well, this Orange Poppy Seed Olive Oil Cake is one of those! I know I’ll make this cake again and again; moist and full of flavor, and so easy to pull together! I found some Cara Cara navel oranges at our town’s version of Whole Foods and was keen to try them in this cake; they’re a little larger and sweeter than the regular navel oranges you find in most grocery stores. The juicy flesh is a pretty deep orange color, which doesn’t affect it’s flavor at all, but sure makes for a lovely accent in the photos; and food lover/geeky photographer that I am, I pay attention to those things…. I would love to know if you try this recipe and what you think of it. Please feel free to send your comments.
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from Cara Cara navel oranges)
- 3/4 cup maple sugar
- 3 large eggs
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Preheat oven to 350°F
For the cake:
- Line a 9-inch round baking pan with parchment paper; spray with Baker’s Joy or similar.
In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together; set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of the orange juice; set aside.
- Mix the maple sugar and zest together until thoroughly combined. Mix the orange-sugar blend and eggs in a large bowl and using either a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high, about 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce mixer speed and add the flour mixture and milk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix well after each addition.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean; check at 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 25-30 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
For the glaze:
- In a small saucepan, bring the maple syrup, 3 tablespoons orange juice, and orange extract to a low boil, simmering for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat to cool and thicken. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Let cake set for about an hour before serving.
NOTE: If you can’t find Cara Cara oranges in your grocery store, regular navel oranges will work just fine.
I have never made a Key Lime pie. Crazy, right?!! I’ve wanted to make one for a while now but the idea of changing the granulated sugar that’s normally used in the recipe to maple syrup or honey was more of a challenge than I was up for. Then in a surge of energy and because I’ve been on a serious citrus kick lately, I decided to take the challenge on. And now with the task complete, I’m so glad I took the time and effort to make it happen. The custard turned out creamy, with an almost curd-like texture and with the not-to-sweet, bright lime flavor you’d expect. Keeping the pie free of refined sugar, the graham cracker crust was made using honey and molasses sweetened graham crackers; you can usually find them in your local health food grocery store. If you’re a long-time fan of Key Lime pie or have just been wanting to give it a try, I hope you’ll try this naturally sweetened version!
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used Mi-Del brand)
- 1/4 cup maple sugar*
- 7 tablespoons butter, melted
For the custard:
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup maple syrup*
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/3 cup key lime juice
- 2 tablespoons grated lime zest
For the meringue:
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 4 tablespoons powdered maple sugar*
Preheat oven to 375°F
For the crust:
- In a medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, maple sugar and melted butter, mixing with a fork to combine.
- Pour crumb mixture into an 8″ spring-form pan, patting firmly into the pan with your fingers.
- Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.
For the custard:
- Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl. Set the whites aside (they should be room temperature before whipping).
- Combine the flour, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Gradually stir in the water, whisking briskly to ensure you don’t have any lumps, then stir in maple syrup. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Cool for 10 minutes.
- Gradually stir the cooled, cooked syrup mixture into the beaten egg yolks, beating constantly. Return the mixture to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the butter, lime juice and lime zest. When done, the consistency should be similar to pudding or a fruit curd.
For the meringue:
- Beat egg whites until light and frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Beat in the maple sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
- Pour the lime filling into the prepared crumb crust. Then pile the meringue on top, spreading it to the edges. Use the back of a spoon to swirl peaks into the merigue. On the middle rack of the oven, bake pie at 325°F for 10 – 12 minutes or until meringue top is golden brown.
*NOTE: If you don’t have a problem with consuming cane sugar, just substitute equal amounts of granulated white sugar for the maple syrup and maple sugars (In the “For the custard” section of Ingredients, add an additional 1 cup of water to compensate for the liquid that’s in the maple syrup).
Almost all of the desserts I make for this blog are shared with my co-workers and a week or so ago one of them requested Lemon Bars. I was happy to oblige, kind of excited because it was my first request (it’s the little things…), and a little relieved too because sometimes I think that without intervention, most of the desserts I would make and share here would be made of chocolate or have chocolate in them somewhere. Not that there’s anything really wrong with that, but as strange as it may seem to us chocolate lovers/addicts, there are people out there who really don’t care for chocolate (they say it tastes bitter). To the rescue…Lemon Bars! I’ve tried a number of recipes over the years with varying degrees of success, but just recently I discovered Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s perfect Lemon Bar recipe. It has just the right ratio of tender, buttery crust to creamy, tangy, lemon custard filling. Look no further Lemon Bar fans! Oh, there will be some lip smackin’ goin’ on.
For the Crust:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour:
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar, (plus additional to sprinkle on bars):
- 1/4 cup cornstarch:
- 1/2 teaspoon salt:
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), (dice small and put back in frig until ready to process):
For the Filling:
- 4 large eggs:
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar:
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour:
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest:
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 or 4 lemons):
- 1/3 cup milk:
- Pinch of salt:
Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and lightly grease the foil.
- Mix together the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt (I used a food processor but you can also use a large bowl and a whisk to mix by hand). Add diced, cold butter and process in the food processor for 15-20 seconds; then a couple times more (the butter should be the size of small crumbs). (If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender).
- Sprinkle the crust mixture into the prepared pan and, using your fingers, press into an even layer on the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. On the middle rack of your oven, bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- For the filling, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, and flour in a medium bowl; add in the lemon zest, juice, and milk, whisking until combined.
- Pour the filling onto the warm crust. Lower the oven temperature to 325º. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the middle of the filling jiggles slightly when lightly shaken.
- On a wire rack, cool the bars to room temperature, dust with more powdered sugar and cut into squares or bars.