Tuesday, March 20, 2012

anniversary dessert: olive oil tangerine pound cake

A. loves almost anything orange. One of his favorite desserts (not made by me, that is... heehee) is the cake Tangerine Moon from the Bonbonerie, in my previous stomping grounds when I used to live in Cincinnati. I actually used to walk to the "Bonbon" sometimes to pick up some scones, complete with clotted cream. Those were the days...

I personally find their Tangerine Moon cake a tad too sweet, but that's probably because of the frosting. As dessert-loving as I am, I have to say I am very picky about frosting. I almost always find it way too sweet. I don't mind the occasional frosted cake or cupcake, but I much prefer simple desserts with basic, yet quality ingredients with lots of flavor.

Recently, A. requested I make my own version of a tangerine cake. And since it was our anniversary, how could I say no?

So I took one of my favorite citrus-inspired dessert recipes - Smitten Kitchen's blood orange olive oil pound cake, which I've made quite a few times. I've always loved olive oil-based cakes - they are always so moist, but I feel *a little* better eating them compared to butter-based cakes. Not that I would refuse the latter, of course. Anyway. I really find Smitten Kitchen's recipe to be such a great go-to recipe because of the simplicity, which allows the flavor of the fruit to really shine.  No overpowering or overly sweet frosting here. Fresh citrus + olive oil... what's not to like?

A few revisions: Instead of 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, I used 1 cup all-purpose and 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (not whole wheat bread flour!). I also reduced the sugar by maybe 2 tablespoons, as I usually do with most recipes. I used plain Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk, because I almost always have Greek yogurt on hand, and it's a great substitute.

The tangerines I had were a little bigger than most blood oranges and veeeerrry juicy, so I used 2 eggs instead of 3 to reduce the amount of liquid in the cake. I used 1/3 cup olive oil instead of 2/3 because I had so much tangerine juice as I was breaking up the orange segments. I didn't measure how much juice I ended up with exactly, but as I was mixing, I went with my intuition and reduced the amount of olive oil. It  turned out to be a good decision or else the batter would have been too thin if I used all 2/3 cup of olive oil. I also zested 3 tangerines instead of 2 for an extra boost of tangerine flavor. I told A.: "you ask for it, you got it!"

So here's the recipe, with my revisions. I know. I'm long-winded.

Olive Oil Tangerine Pound Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

3 tangerines (when choosing citrus, always choose fruits that feel heavy for their size - that means they are juicy!)
scant 1 cup sugar (1 cup minus about 2 tablespoons)
scant 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or plain yogurt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Follow the directions here.

This cake is so simple, yet so delicious. The consistency is very moist, thanks to the generous quantities of Greek yogurt and olive oil.

check out the crumb of this cake - doesn't it look so moist? (and yes, it is!)

You can see the bits of tangerine pulp throughout - this is what really gives the sweetness and flavor to this cake. If I could make this a scratch n' sniff photo for you, I would...

 The citrus flavor is really bright, with the addition of zest, juice, and pulp. It needs nothing else, except perhaps a cup of tea.

a healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert, if you ask me... hey, it's got fruit, right?

Wedding anniversary flowers preferred, but not required. :)

anniversary flowers from A.

We had a quiet celebration of our first anniversary last night - I made a simple dinner of yellow dal (Indian lentils) and roti - A.'s favorite comfort food. I was so proud of myself for making the yellow dal just by feel, having watched A. cook it before. (I hope to pass the "test" when I attempt to cook for his family when we visit India.) We've been having perfect weather, so after dinner we went for a walk around our neighborhood, talked, and laughed at the corniest of jokes as we always do... then came back home to have some cake.

Sometimes, the simplest of celebrations is the best... as it helps me focus on what's most important: time with the ones we love.

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Anne said...

i love that you write about your substitutions with what you have on hand. i feel more confident substituting with cooking, but not yet in baking! i wouldn't have thought greek yogurt as a good substitute for buttermilk! good to know!

pinned this recipe to try next time. it does sound really good!

Mia said...

Hi Anne! Yes, I tend to sub Greek yogurt when buttermilk is called for in recipes... it's just not something I have on a regular basis! I think it fulfills the same purpose (extra moisture + a little tang).

It's definitely worth a try with the last of this winter's citrus! Super easy, I didn't even use my electric mixer. Let me know how it goes :)

Rachel said...

Mia, that recipe sounds WONDERFUL! My two biggest complaints about cakes is that they are too dry and the frosting is too sickly sweet, so your recipe in contrast looks heavenly. And I love citrus flavor, so I'll definitely be re-visiting this posting:)

And Happy Anniversary to both of you!

Mia said...

Thanks Rachel!

And I couldn't agree with you more about your "cake complaints". That's really what I try to avoid when I make my own! But yes, this Smitten Kitchen recipe is a keeper :)

I'd love to know if you come up with another modified version!

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