Fresh citrus adds its pucker in three ways to this olive oil-based loaf cake from Lodge Bread Co. pastry chef Julia Webb. First, orange zest is ground into the sugar to sweeten the batter, then its juice adds moistness. Finally, whole chopped segments are folded into the batter at the end to add bursts of fresh fruit. If you’d rather glaze the loaf with an icing to serve for dessert or tea time, skip the sugar on top at the end and drizzle the cake with a glaze made of powdered sugar and more citrus juice.
Fresh Citrus Olive Oil Cake
1 ½ hours, largely unattended. Makes one 9-inch loaf cake.
- ¾ cup everyday olive oil, plus more for greasing
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour (available at Whole Foods)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 small navel or blood oranges
- 1 small regular or Meyer lemon
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk, plain yogurt or sour cream
- ¼ cup granulated or turbinado sugar (optional)
- Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan (8-cup capacity) with olive oil and line the bottom and two long sides with parchment paper. Grease the paper, then dust the inside of the pan with all-purpose flour to coat, knocking out any excess.
- In a small bowl, sift or whisk together both flours, the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Place a microplane grater over the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl and grate the zest from the oranges and lemon into the bowl. Halve one orange and juice it; you should get at least ¼ cup juice (drink any extra). Using a paring knife, trim the ends from the remaining two oranges, then cut off their white pith. Cut in between the membranes to release their segments (discard the membranes), then cut each segment in half crosswise. Reserve the segments (about ½ cup) in a small bowl.
- Pour the orange juice into the bowl along with the brown sugar and attach to the stand mixer (or use a hand mixer); beat on medium speed to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly pour in the olive oil and vanilla. With the mixer still running on low, spoon in half the dry ingredients, then slowly pour in the buttermilk. Spoon in the remaining dry ingredients and continue mixing until the batter just comes together. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the bottom and side with a large rubber spatula to make sure the batter is completely mixed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then scatter the orange segments evenly over the top. Use your finger or a small spatula to gently press the segments into the batter so they’re just covered. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the granulated sugar and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no crumbs attached, 60 to 70 minutes. Remove the loaf cake from the oven and let cool completely in the pan before unmolding and serving.
Make ahead: The loaf cake will keep, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Julia Webb, pastry chef of Lodge Bread Co.