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Olive Oil Cake

Olive oil in cake? You'll be surprised how the olive oil keeps the cake super moist. Make sure you use a floral olive oil rather than, say, a peppery one. This recipe is from Holiday Baking: New And Traditional Recipes for Wintertime Holidays, by Sarah Perry (Chronicle Books 2005).

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest (from about 3 medium oranges)

1 tablespoon of orange liqueur (Grand Marnier or Cointreau)

1/4 to 1/3 cup sliced toasted almonds

2 tablespoons marmalade, warmed in the microwave

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment or waxed paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well blended, about 1 minute. Whisk in the olive oil, milk, orange zest and orange liqueur.

Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until thoroughly blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, scatter the almonds in a single layer on a small baking sheet or pan and toast in the oven until slightly brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

To serve, unmold the cake, remove the parchment paper, and place the cake on a flat serving plate. Using a pastry brush, coat the sides of the cake and a 1-inch rim along the top with the warm marmalade, arranging any bits of peel along the rim. (If the marmalade is too thick, add 1/4 teaspoon warm water and stir.) Press the almonds onto the sticky top rim. Using a fine sieve, lightly dust the powdered sugar evenly over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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