Deeply roasted almonds, orange zest, and fruity extra virgin olive oil add to the complex depth of flavor in this hearty citrus almond olive oil cake with a citrus olive oil glaze.
This post was sponsored by CA Grown.
The inspiration to share this recipe came from a fun adventure I had recently when a group of bloggers from all over California descended on Fresno for the CA GROWN farm tour which ended with the California Food Expo.
First I’ll be telling you a bit about our tour then I’ll fill you in on this delicious cake made with a beautiful local olive oil I was introduced to on the tour. Scroll to the very end of the post for a printable recipe.
I was thrilled to be invited on the tour because even though I grew up here in the world’s breadbasket, California’s San Joaquin Valley, there is always so much to learn about the many different specialty food crops grown in my state.
And I had somehow managed to never once attend the California Food Expo, even though it happens in my own backyard.
The Tour Begins
We were greeted for lunch with an amazing spread of California goodies put together by Kellie and Allison of Fig and Honey Lavish Grazing, a local catering company specializing in stunning charcuterie boards and grazing tables featuring seasonal produce from the valley.
We grazed away on fresh figs, red walnuts, cheese, and honey while listening to our guide KC Cornwell lay down some facts about California agriculture. KC can answer just about any question you might have about California farming or food in general so we were filled with knowledge by the end of our CA Grown experience.
What Grows in California?
California produces 100% of these commodities in the US: almonds, artichokes, dates, fresh figs (98% of dried figs), raisin grapes, kiwifruit, olives, clingstone peaches, pistachios, dried plums, pomegranates, sweet rice, clover seed, and walnuts. Keep in mind, this is commercial production and doesn’t mean someone doesn’t have a few trees somewhere else.
California leads the nation in production of: apricots, asparagus, avocados, dry lima beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, fresh market cabbage, fresh market carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, American pima cotton, daikon, eggplant, escarole/endive, flower bulbs, cut flowers, potted flowers and potted plants, garlic, table grapes, wine grapes (and wine), alfalfa hay, herbs, jojoba, kale, kumquats, lemons, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, limes, mandarins and mandarin hybrids, cantaloupe melons, honeydew melons, milk and cream, nectarines, nursery bedding plants, nursery crops, dry onions, green onions, parsley, freestone peaches, chili peppers, bell peppers, persimmons, pigeons and squabs, plums, pluots, raspberries, safflower, alfalfa seed, Bermuda grass seed, vegetable and flower seed, fresh market spinach, strawberries, processing tomatoes, triticale, greenhouse vegetables, Oriental vegetables and watercress.
Pretty incredible, right? I feel so lucky to live where so much of our nation’s food is grown. We have access to such an amazing variety of fresh produce in California.
It makes sense that since California produces 100% of the olives in the US and that since many of those olives grow right here in central California, we should have some great olive oil producers nearby.
Of course we do!
California Olive Oil
First stop on our tour was Enzo Olive Oil, where we toured an olive grove and Enzo’s state-of-the-art mill and learned about growing practices and olive oil production from Vincent Ricchiuti.
Vincent’s family has been farming in the San Joaquin Valley for generations but he and his father Patrick first entered the olive oil business in 2008. The Ricchiuti’s milled their very first harvested crop of organic olives in 2011.
ENZO organic extra virgin olive oil is 100% estate-grown, meaning from the planting of each and every tree, harvesting of the crop, milling of the fruit, and bottling of the oil, all steps are completed under the direction of Patrick and Vincent Ricchiuti on the ENZO property, which features meticulously manicured groves and a state-of-the-art mill on site.from enzooliveoil.com
After learning all about the production, we were able to sample several Enzo olive oils, including oils flavored with mandarins, Fresno chilies, and basil. They were all delicious!
It was the Enzo Organic Clementine Crush Olive Oil that made me want to bake the citrus almond olive oil cake that you’ll read about at the end of this post.
ENZO Organic Clementine Crush begins with 100% estate grown organic olives which are then milled together with fresh California mandarins. The result is an exceptional, unfiltered olive oil yielding a natural citrus essence and aroma.from enzooliveoil.com
The next stop on our tour was Ficklin Vineyards, where we sampled award-winning Ports and learned about the history of Ficklin Vineyards, which has been producing Port since 1946.
Ficklin’s Port is widely acclaimed as one of America’s finest Port wines created in the Portuguese tradition.
Third generation winemaker, Peter Ficklin still guides the daily winemaking at Ficklin Vineyards in the production of their highly acclaimed Ports. He gives a great tour as well!
We ended our first day with an absolutely amazing meal at Trelio restaurant. Chef Chris Shackelford wowed us with a five-course meal created especially for our tour featuring locally grown produce from Thao Farms. The meal was paired with some beautiful California wines.
The next day we had a delicious breakfast at the charming Patio Cafe in Fresno’s Fig Garden Village before heading to the California Food Expo.
California Food Expo
Here we are about to be let loose at the California Food Expo, where we ended our tour and sampled so many different products from all over the state.
Since we only tasted oil during our tour at Enzo, I was happy to stop by their booth at the expo to sample their jams and delicious almond butter. My favorite was this spicy Fresno Chili Jam.
I was pretty excited to learn about these frozen sweet potato cubes from Mininger Foods since my daughter is a big fan of sweet potatoes but I don’t always love chopping them.
I later ended up finding them at the grocery store by my house so my freezer is now stocked!
These popped water lily seeds from Ashapops were a new-to-me healthy snack that were super addicting. They come in several flavors and I really loved the turmeric garlic flavor.
This raw cheddar flavored with jalapeño from Organic Pastures is really great! It will be in stores soon so keep your eyes open.
It was really exciting to see so many fun, delicious, and innovative products featured at the food expo! From Halloween-themed chocolate milk and sour raisin snacks for the kids to marinated goat cheese and craft beer for the adults there was something for everyone.
It was a lot of fun learning more about the area I grew up in and the the food that is produced here. Big thanks to KC and CA GROWN for all the work you do spreading the word about California farmers.
How to Make Olive Oil Cake
Now let me tell you about this cake!
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The recipe for the cake comes from the gorgeous cookbook Wine Country Table by Janet Fletcher which celebrates the state’s wine growing regions and agricultural bounty. I received a review copy of this book free of charge.
I adapted the recipe only slightly and added a citrus olive oil glaze of my own creation featuring Enzo Organic Clementine Crush, which I also used in the cake itself.
The ingredients include almonds, which are roasted then finely ground, cake flour, eggs, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla.
Although the cake does use some baking powder for leavening, the addition of four eggs, which are whipped with sugar until the mixture increases in volume helps create the cake’s loft even with the large amount of ground almonds.
You start by whisking the eggs until foamy, then gradually whip in the sugar, vanilla extract and orange zest. Continue whipping the egg and sugar mixture over high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume.
Next, whisk together the roasted almonds, which have been ground in a food processor with the cake flour. You will be adding the almond mixture to the egg mixture in three additions, alternating with the olive oil.
Once your batter is mixed, pour it into your greased 9-inch round cake pan and pop it into the oven.
I experimented with adding some of the clementine crush olive oil to an orange juice glaze I had whisked together and it was such a brilliant addition!
Just a tablespoon of of the citrus olive oil balanced the sweetness of the glaze and added a lovely color as well. I had never tried an olive oil glaze before, but I’ll be playing around with it some more when my Meyer lemons are ripe.
This cake is good the day you bake it, but it actually improves in flavor overnight. And this morning, I discovered my favorite way of eating it. I toasted a slice with salted butter in a small skillet until each side was golden brown. DELICIOUS.
I liked it so much that I tried it again later using a splash of the citrus olive oil in the pan instead of butter and topping the toasted slice with a tiny pinch of crunchy salt. Highly recommend!
Although I have been compensated for this post by CA Grown, I was not asked to write about Enzo Olive Oil and I purchased the olive oil myself. All opinions expressed are my own.
- Honey Lemon Olive Oil Muffins with Lemon Glaze
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Around the Web:
- Pistachio Olive Oil Cake from Naturally Ella
- Olive Oil Pound Cake with Roasted Strawberries from Joy the Baker
- Meyer Lemon Sage Olive Oil Cake from Blue Kitchen
- Apple and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Cream Cheese frosting from Eats Well With Others
- Raspberry Olive Oil Cake from Baking Bites
- 1 cup whole raw almonds (140 g)
- unsalted butter for greasing the pan
- 3/4 cup twice-sifted cake flour (80 g)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar (140 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of one small orange
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (160 ml)
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until golden brown on the inside, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with a parchment paper round cut to fit.
- Put the whole almonds in a food processor with one third of the cake flour and process until almost as fine as sand. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining cake flour, the baking powder, and salt, then whisk in the ground almonds until well blended.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until well blended. Add the sugar gradually, then add the vanilla and orange zest. Continue whipping on high speed until the mixture triples in volume, about 5 more minutes.
- On low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the olive oil and beating just until the batter is blended. Scrape bowl Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake until the cake is golden brown and just firm to touch in the center, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto another rack. Remove the parchment paper, and invert again. Finish cooling right side up on a rack then transfer to a serving plate.
- !Make glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice. If the glaze is thicker than honey, add a splash more juice. Whisk in olive oil.
- Pour glaze evenly over cake then top with sliced almonds.
This recipe is slightly adapted from the recipe for Almond, Orange, and Olive Oil Cake in the book Wine Country Table by Janet Fletcher
I used Enzo Organic Clementine Crush extra virgin olive oil for both the cake and glaze.
This is not an overly sweet cake, even with the glaze. If serving as a dessert, you might want to accompany the slice with a dollop of lemon curd and whipped cream.
My favorite way to eat this cake is to lightly toast a slice on each side in a buttered skillet (olive oil instead of butter is also excellent) served with just a pinch of crunchy salt. Perfect for breakfast or snack with coffee or tea.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 262 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 48mg Sodium: 97mg Carbohydrates: 27g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 20g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 4g