We recently returned from our honeymoon in Peru, where we picked up some palta (avocado) honey at the peak of summer to the other side of the equator where it is currently a different kind of seasonal peak - the height of the winter doldrums. Fortunately, grey winter days are not without their culinary delights, one of them being amazing citrus. Given our recent honey purchase, the cold weather begging me to "get my baking on", and beautiful blood oranges that fold so lovely into an olive oil cake, this combination was calling my name. The palta honey has very unique dark, earthy quality to it, but any honey that you enjoy will do for drizzling.
The recipe is adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe in a few ways including to incorporate cornmeal and deconstruct the compote - blood orange slices are so gorgeous it's a shame to chop them up for this application and we wanted the honey to shine on it's own. Makes one 9x5-inch loaf pan or four, 5x2.5-inch loaf pans. I happen to have four of these small loaf pans and am always looking for excuses to use them because they are pretty darn cute and more surface area = more crispy bits = delicious.
- Butter for greasing pan
- 5 blood oranges
- 1 cup (200 grams or 7 ounces) sugar
- About 1/2 cup (118 ml) plain yogurt
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup (156 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons cup medium grind cornmeal
- 1-1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Honey, for drizzling
- Crème fraîche for serving (optional, but perfect - just do it)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan or four 5x2.5-inch loaf pans. Grate zest from 2 oranges and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until orange zest is evenly distributed in sugar.
Supreme an orange - aka "segment citrus like a boss" (I created that instructional post and just found out through this recipe that this technique is called "supreming"!). Break up segments with your fingers into about 1/4-inch sized chunks.
Halve 2 oranges and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; you’ll will have about 1/4 cup. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs and olive oil.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake cake for 50 to 55 minutes (9x5-inch loaf pan) or 25-30 minutes (5x2.5-inch loaf pans), or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in loaf pan(s). While cake is cooling, supreme 2 more oranges and keep refrigerated until served.
Slice cake and serve with crème fraîche, blood orange slices, and a drizzle of honey. You can also drizzle some more olive oil over the top if you're feeling wild. Keeps for 3-4 days.