Here we are, the first post of the new year.
I want to do something different this year and really, it’s something I started last year but now I really want to make it a thing: Cakes without frosting. I’m calling it #cakeunfrosted (you know, “life-unplugged”….that sort of thing). I want to see how many ways I can decorate a cake without using frosting. I hope you all will join me in this challenge, as well! If you bake something and happen to post it on Instagram, use that #cakeunfrosted hashtag so that I can see it and share it in my stories! I’d love to see what you all come up with!
First up in a long line of cakes to come (I hope!) is this Candied Orange Olive Oil Cake with Rum & Cornmeal.
Oh, you guys. This cake is dreeeeeeamy.
It’s two layers of soft, fragrant, orange-scented olive oil cake studded with flecks of cornmeal and coated with an orange syrup and candied oranges. The combination of rum and olive oil gives the cake an almost buttery flavor that I can. not. get. enough. of.
Obviously I’ve used orange here but feel free to customize this cake with any citrus! Orange, mandarin, lemon, blood orange, cara cara orange, grapefruit, satsuma, tangerine….so many glorious options lie in front of you!
Happy New Year to all of you and happy #cakeunfrosted baking!
- FOR THE CAKE
- 1 cup Raw Cane Sugar
- 3 Large Eggs
- Zest of one Orange
- ¼ cup Golden Rum
- 1 cup high quality Olive Oil (use extra virgin for a stronger taste and regular for a milder flavor)
- 1⅓ cups Whole Milk
- 1½ cups All-purpose Flour
- ½ cup medium-grind Cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- FOR THE CANDIED ORANGES
- 1½ cups Raw Cane Sugar
- ¾ cup Water
- 2 Navel Oranges, sliced into ⅛" rounds (a sharp mandolin works great for this)
- Kumquats, to top
- Fresh Mint, for garnish
- TO MAKE THE CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour two 6" round cake pans (works best if pans are at least 3" deep).
- Place the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bow and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the orange zest, rum, olive oil, and milk, and whisk in.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined - Do not overmix!
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, dropping them on the counter a few times to nix air bubbles.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. While the cakes are baking, prepare the candied oranges.
- Once the cakes are done, remove from the oven and let them cool for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pan and let cool on a wire rack while the oranges finish cooking.
- TO CANDY THE ORANGES & ASSEMBLE:
- Place the sugar and water in a saute pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Place pan over medium/high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and add the orange slices to the sugar mixture, spreading them eveny over the surface of the syrup. It's alright if they overlap a bit. Let the orange slices cook for 1 hour, makeing sure that the syrup is only gently bubbling. After one hour, pull each orange slice out of the syrup and lay on a siplat mat or peice of parchment paper.
- Level the tops of both cake layers. Pour ⅓ of the syrup from the candied oranges over the top of one of the cake layers. Spread the syrup evenly over the surface and place the other cake on top of that layer. Pour the remaining syrup over the top of the cake, using a basting brush to coat the top and sides with the syrup.
- Spray or coat the blade of a knife with oil. Use it to cut the candied orange slices in half. Place the candied orange slice halves on the cake as shown in the photos. They will stick right to the cake thanks to the sticky syrup coating. To place them over the top of the cake you'll need to cut a small wedge off of each half that you place around the perimeter - the cut sides should face out, lining the edge.
- Top the cake with sliced kumquats and fresh mint leaves.
- Best eaten the same day baked.
Other citrus-y favorites for your baking pleasure: