Sunday Magazine Recipe: Blood orange, prune and olive oil cake

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I don't use a lot of oil in my baking, because I find it hard to go past butter. But the comforting flavour of the olive oil works beautifully in this maple-sweetened orange cake. Prunes that have been cooked are heavenly because they go completely gooey and almost dissolve into the cake. If you can't find blood oranges you can use regular ones. 

BLOOD ORANGE, PRUNE AND OLIVE OIL CAKE
Serves 12

Candied blood orange slices:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 blood orange 

Cake:
150g spelt or plain flour
60g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 organic eggs
90ml extra virgin olive oil
100ml pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest and juice of 1 large blood orange
10-12 pitted prunes, roughly chopped 

First, make the candied blood orange slices. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, slice the orange into as many slices as you can (they need to be about 3mm in thickness). 

In a saucepan, combine water and sugar and place over medium heat to boil for about 5 minutes (the sugar should completely dissolve). Gently place orange slices into sugar syrup and simmer for 15-20 minutes. The pith will become slightly transparent and the syrup will reduce. Using tongs, remove slices from syrup, place on prepared baking tray and set aside. Reserve syrup. 

Next, make the cake. Preheat oven to 170C fan bake. Grease and line a 22cm tin. 

Combine flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk eggs for about 3 minutes, until pale, light and fluffy, and then gradually add the oil while still beating. Fold through maple syrup and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two lots until fully incorporated. Be careful not to over mix. Finally, fold through orange zest and juice and prunes. 

Spoon batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes. The cake is ready when golden in colour, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool for around 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack.

Once cool, place candied orange slices on top. Serve with a little of the orange syrup and a dollop of mascarpone. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Photo: Emma Boyd

RecipesJordan Rondel