Your bubbeleh may have fried everything for Hanukkah, but new times call for (at least a few) new treats on the Hanukkah table.
Fried food is delicious (See: sweet potato latkes), but being creative with how you celebrate the miracle of nearly-everlasting oil doesn’t have to produce an inferior spread. I give you Exhibit A: almond citrus olive oil cake — a cake with good crumb and a balanced, nuanced flavor deserving of a seat at your upcoming holiday party.
The recipe comes from Food Network’s Italian Goddess, Giada De Laurentiis. Not many people know olive oil better than the Italians (we’re going to exclude the Greeks from the discussion for the time being, given the holiday’s history), and Giada’s cake is a breath of fresh air amidst the smoke rising from the frying latkes. I used pretty good quality EVOO and even then the olive oil flavor is only slightly detectable, so push aside any hesitations you have on what this might taste like. It’s really more of an almond flavored cake with bright notes, thanks to the citrus zest.
Note: The sugar gets creamed (beaten) with the eggs, not whisked together with the dry ingredients. But, if you (like, ahem, me), accidentally do pour it in the wrong bowl, your cake will still turn out fine — I promise.
And, although the recipe doesn’t specifically call for it, this cake would be great in a bundt pan (really only for the shape) and drizzled with a basic powdered sugar glaze and topped with more sliced toasted almonds, in lieu of a powdered sugar dusting — but I like excessively sweet things, so proceed as you see fit.
Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake
from Giada De Laurentiis’s “Everyday Italian”
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled
- Powdered sugar, for sifting
- 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
- 3/4 teaspoon orange blossom water, optional
- 3 oranges, segmented
- 2 pink grapefruits, segmented
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lightly oil an 8-inch-diameter cake pan.
- Using a medium bowl for the first mixture, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to blend.
- In a second, large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the sugar, eggs, and zests until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the milk.
- Gradually beat in the oil.
- Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended.
- Stir in the almonds.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Place cake pan on baking pan to collect any possible spills.
- Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes.
- Transfer pan to a rack and cool for 15 minutes.
- Remove cake and place on serving platter, top side up.
- Sift powdered sugar over the cake. (Or, wait until it has cooled and drizzle with powdered sugar icing.)
To make the citrus compote:
- While the cake is baking, stir the orange peel, blossom water, and 2 tablespoons of accumulated juices from the segmented fruit in a small bowl to blend.
- Cover and let stand 15 minutes for the flavors to blend.
Cut the cake into wedges and spoon the citrus compote alongside.