March 22, 2012

Orange Saffron Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Marscapone

Yesterday was one of those days.  My body still hasn't caught up from midterms and my schedule is certainly not letting me forget it.  After a stressful TA session until 10, I needed to do something fun just for me.  Since I made my baking resolution, I'm starting to love watching my doughs rise to success.  So I thought I would try out the ridiculous cheap saffron I found at Trader Joe's.  I love a punch of something savory and unexpected in desserts, so I thought it would be perfect in something like an olive oil cake.  Having never made one but salivating every time I see one on food network, so I wanted to find a recipe that I didn't need to mess with too much.  Hence, this little gem of a recipe from Melissa d'Arabian, who I totally rooted for on Next Food Network Star.

Olive oil cake is a rich cake that ends up with great crispy edge.  Orange brightens the cake while saffron echos the savory, earthy flavor of the olive oil.  In order to incorporate the saffron flavor, I steeped the orange juice with a good pinch of saffron by nuking it for 30 seconds in the microwave and letting it stand for 5 minutes.  I topped the cooled cake with a whipped marscapone topping flavored with orange zest and juice, delicious!

Orange Saffron Olive Oil Cake with Whipped Marcapone
Adapted from Melissa d'Arabian
2 eggs, large
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup
1 orange, zest and juice
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Marscapone Topping
8 oz marscapone
4 oz cream cheese
3 teaspoons honey
1 orange, zest and juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  First, zest and juice the orange.  Microwave the collected orange juice and microwave for 30 seconds on high.  Add the saffron and let steep until it comes back to room temperature, about 5-10 minutes.

Mix the eggs and sugar together with a hand mixer until they have lightened in color, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the olive oil, vanilla, and steeped orange juice.  In a separate bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Fold the dry ingredients into wet ingredients in 3 batches.  Pour into a greased and floured 9 inch cake pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

While baking, prepare the topping.  I used a hand mixer to combine the all of the ingredients, all of which I brought to room temperature before mixing for a smoother consistency.

When the cake is cooled, top with the marscapone topping.  Enjoy!

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