My husband was a tad disappointed the first time I made this, since we’d bought a deluxe amaretto for it, and he felt like you couldn’t taste it enough when it was added to the cake. Good point- so much of it bakes away, and almond extract would produce the same results, for probably less money. So next batch, I added the amaretto to the candied orange peel. Whoa- THAT was good!
Here’s a cake recipe that’s quick and easy enough, but still delicious (& slightly healthier than average!)- a moist cake with a fresh orange flavor and slightly crunchy texture from the cornmeal. Traditional Italian recipes might add some Amaretto to the cake; to preserve more of the liqueur’s flavor, it can be added to the orange peel garnish. (Unless serving the under-aged, that is!) Serves 12.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 c. milk (or yogurt or buttermilk)
- 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pan
- 3 oranges, for zest and garnish
- 1 TBS. orange zest
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1/2 c. coarse-ground cornmeal (fine-ground works too)*
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Optional: 2 TBS. each sugar and water, for orange peel garnish
- Optional: 2 TBS. amaretto liqueur, added to orange peel garnish
- Optional: (Instead of orange peel) Confectioner’s sugar to decorate top
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press foil into a 9” spring form pan and coat with olive oil and flour. Or, use two 9-inch round cake pans, which won’t need a foil liner, but which should still be coated with olive oil and flour. (If using two pans, they’ll bake faster.) Tap out any excess flour.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whip until well blended and light in color: > 3 large eggs > 1 c. granulated sugar
3. Stir into whipped egg/sugar mix: > 1 1/2 c. milk (or yogurt or buttermilk) > 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil > 1 TBS. orange zest > 1/2 tsp. almond extract
4. In another bowl, stir dry ingredients together: > 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour > 1/2 c. cornmeal > 1/2 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. baking soda > 1/4 tsp. salt
5. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until just blended (the batter should still be slightly lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan(s). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn it out onto a serving plate.
6. To make a garnish of candied orange peel, carefully cut away the outer peel of one orange, slicing it into thin strips. Mix together in a microwavable bowl (or in a small saucepan): > Thin strips from 1-2 oranges > 2 TBS. sugar > 2 TBS. water
7. Microwave (or heat in pan) the sugar/orange/water mix for one minute. If using microwave, stir and repeat this three times, until peel has absorbed most of the sugar. (In saucepan, just keep simmering a few minutes until peel gets soft.) If desired, at this point, stir in: > 2 TBS. amaretto liqueur
8. Garnish the cake with the orange peel. Alternately, it can be decorated with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar instead
*I wasn’t thrilled with my experiment substituting masa flour (which I had) for the corn meal (which I didn’t have on hand). Most bloggers claim success with the switch, but I would say, approach that idea with caution!.