Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

Today is my first day of Spring Break!  And something very exciting just happened – as I was sitting here typing up this post I saw a huge bald eagle flying right outside my living room window!  His wingspan must have been at least 4 feet wide, definitely the largest bird I have ever seen.  It was amazing to watch him fly spreading those remarkable wings out and soaring right in front of my eyes.  I ran for my camera but he was gone by the time I got back to the window.  But back to the cake!  This Sicilian dessert is moist and dense, a huge hit for any crowd.

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2 large oranges

2 1/3 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

4 eggs

6 tbs extra virgin olive oil

butter, for coating the pan

sea salt, for garnish

1/8 cup powdered sugar

(Recipe Adapted from Saveur)

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Begin by slicing off the tops and bottoms of the oranges.

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Quarter each orange and place the slices into 6 cups of boiling water.  Boil for about 3 minutes.

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Drain the oranges and fill with a fresh 6 cups of water and bring to a boil for 3 more minutes.  Drain once again.  This helps to create a soft scented flavor instead of a pungent orange flavor.

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Add 4 cups of water and 1 cup sugar.  Cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes, or until the rinds of the oranges can easily be pierced with a fork.  Remove from heat and let cool.

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Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar.

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Remove the orange quarters from the syrup and discard any seeds.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the syrup for later.  Place the oranges into a food processor.  Pulse 10-12 times or until a chunky puree is formed.

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Add the flour mixture, vanilla extract, and eggs into the processor and blend until well incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.

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Add the extra virgin olive oil and mix well.

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Pour the batter into a spring form pan that is buttered and floured.

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Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 30 minutes.

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Mix together the reserved 1/4 cup of syrup with the powdered sugar.  Place a piece of wax paper under the cooling sheet.  Carefully take off the sides of the pan and brush the syrup over the top and sides of the cake.

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Sprinkle the top of the cake with sea salt.

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