Serious Eats: Recipes

Bill Yosses' Orange-Glazed Olive Oil Cake with Fleur de Sel

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

It's pretty much impossible for me to pass up an olive oil cake, no matter if it's being offered at a restaurant, in a bakery, or in recipe form. There's something about the lightness of the cake combined with the green and fruity flavors that the olive oil lends—I find it absolutely irresistible.

So when I came across this recipe for Orange-Glazed Olive Oil Cake with Fleur de Sel from The Perfect Finish by Bill Yosses, I made sure I had all the ingredients on hand, then made a beeline for the kitchen to start baking.

When a dessert involves orange, it's typically the juice or the zest that does the flavoring but this recipe is a little different. Adapted from a Sicilian recipe, this cake uses the entire orange, rind, pith, and all. The oranges are blanched and then simmered in a sugar syrup to soften them, then they're blended to a paste in the food processor. By using the whole orange the cake takes on that wonderful sweet yet slightly bitter flavor typically found in candied orange peel.


Once the oranges are pulsed in the food processor, the rest of the ingredients are added to the bowl and blended until just combined. The food processor facilitates the cake-making process but can get very full, depending on what size you're using.

Although the photograph accompanying Yosses' cake in the cookbook looked fairly flat, mine rose to nearly double the height of the pan. I'm not quite sure why this happened but can you really complain about having a bigger cake than you expected? Once the cake cools it's glazed with the same orange glaze that finished last week's Blackberry Buttermilk Bundt. The glaze made sure the fleur de sel flakes stuck to the surface, and of course added a fantastically complementary saltiness.

I served part of this cake the day I baked it, but the leftover piece was even better—the orange and olive oil flavors were much more pronounced and the cake became more moist.

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Orange-Glazed Olive Oil Cake with Fleur de Sel

- makes 1 (10-inch) cake, serve 8 to 10 -

Adapted from The Perfect Finish by Bill Yosses.

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