Tangerines with their bright and sunny colour make me feel I could warm my toes over a bushel of them. They peel easier than oranges or clementines and are the juiciest and sweetest of all the land.
This cake is really easy to make, so so tasty, and wonderfully moist. I suggest you go make it right now. Basically you just need 2 bowls and a cake pan. (And all the ingredients of course). Do it.
I really like buying tropical fruit in winter. Everyone is all about eating local and with the seasons nowadays, which is really great. But when you live in a country like Canada, that lifestyle can get a bit boring, repetitive, and very beigey-brown. A girl can only eat so many root vegetables and pickled things.
I crave bright and fresh tastes to lift my spirits in dark winter days. These foods give me hope. They remind me that although this long season brings cold weather and short days here, there are places with hot climates and salty ocean breezes. Places where the sun beats down on the orange grove and the fruits swell cheerfully. I like reminding myself that if the winter becomes too heavy, there are countries I could be in a few hours on a plane that would make my skin glow and my spirits lift immediately.
If you know me well you know that I am a perpetual daydreamer of travelling. Travel is one of the things that makes me feel most excited and alive. Just about every place I’ve been has captured a piece of this fiery heart–I love them all and appreciate their unique qualities, good and bad.
One of my favourite parts of travelling is the way time passes differently. Slow in moments with everything new surrounding you, from landscape to ways people interact to food to local goods. It also passes quickly–when it’s over it seems it was just a flash in time. After back at home, it’s as if you never left… almost… but you’ve changed. Whether it’s in a small way or large, you’ve changed.
I feel like I retain 10 times the memories from a 2 week vacation than I do from months at home in a regular routine. Don’t get me wrong, I like routine; it keeps me focused and working towards something. But I thrive on travelling. Like the symmetry of yin and yang, I need both stability and excitement to keep balance in life.
This cake is one of those things. A balance of comforting and simple but also exotic and unforgettable. It emanates feelings of the Mediterranean for me and specifically Sicily which is abundant in citrus fruits and olive trees. The island pulses a strong Italian heartbeat with a vein of North Africa running beneath the surface, through its terrain and vegetation. This cake reminds me of simple pleasures in life. Specifically those often seen or experienced in Italy. Laundry hanging on clothes lines, bustling street markets, beautiful old buildings and terraces filled with people sipping on espresso and red wine any time of day.
I was visiting my aunt and uncle on their sailboat, (which is also their home) in Sicily a while back. Somewhere in the countryside we were all staring at a tree on the side of the road debating whether it was a lemon or lime tree. Some of the fruit was yellow and some was green. We declared, “It’s a lemon tree! The green ones are unripe lemons”. Then we changed our minds, “No no! It’s a lime tree and the yellow ones are overly ripe.”
We flip flopped back and forth until we plucked one and cut it open. It appeared to be a lemon but smelled like a lime. I don’t know if a hybrid lemon-lime tree is a thing but I’ve decided that’s what I want it to be. A lemon and lime had a whirlwind love affair against their families wishes and birthed this multiracial citrus tree.
Moral of this story is, Canadians don’t know s*$t about tropical fruit.
I did learn something from making this cake though–a tangerine is always a mandarin but a mandarin is not always a tangerine. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if this was a tangerine, mandarin, or satsuma. I was really hoping it was a satsuma because I love that word, but alas, the fact is these are tangerines (which is a type of mandarin).
You could always experiment and use any type of citrus fruit for this cake. I imagine it would be delicious with lemon, grapefruit, lime, or any type of orange.
Make this cake. You will not regret it. End of story.
TANGERINE OLIVE OIL BUNDT CAKE
t h e m a g i c
i n s p i r a t i o n : Sicily + tropical fruit to cure my winter blues
f e e l s : moistest of the moist. (ewww. I'm sorry for that sentence. But not so sorry that I'll change it.) orange flavour explosion. The glaze tastes like creamsicles! Yummmm.
e a t w i t h : coffee/espresso, black tea, mint tea, chocolate (dark), whipped cream, toasted almonds or hazelnuts, kumquats, mascarpone frosting, Campari + soda, Aperol spritz, amaro.
m i g h t l i k e i f y o u ' r e i n t o : Italian villas, cake for breakfast, lunch + dinner, vineyards, Amaro Montenegro, rustic imperfection, fresh linen, bergamot, Italian nonnas, elevenses.
t h e s c i e n c e
makes 1 bundt cake
i n g r e d i e n t s :
- 375 grams (3 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
- 520 grams (2.5 cups) raw sugar
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups extra virgin olive oil (Yes, this much olive oil. It's good for you!)
- 1.5 cups + 6 tbsp whole milk
- 4 large eggs
- 2.5 tbsp grated tangerine zest
- 6 tbsp fresh tangerine juice
- 6 tbsp Cointreau (you can substitute more fresh tangerine/orange juice if you don't want to use alcohol)
Tangerine Orange Blossom Glaze
- 1 + 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 4-6 tbsp fresh tangerine juice
- 1/4 tsp orange blossom water
- 1/4 tsp natural vanilla extract
m e t h o d :
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease bundt pan with oil or butter then lightly flour and dump out excess.
- In medium bowl, add flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and whisk together.
- In a large bowl, add olive oil, milk, eggs, tangerine zest and Cointreau and whisk together.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined.
- Pour batter into cake pan no more than 3/4's full to allow room to rise.
- Bake for 1 hour or until the cake looks golden. Test cake with bamboo skewer, if it comes out clean it is done.
- Let cool for 30 minutes. Use a knife to loosen the outside and inside edges of the pan. Turn upside down and carefully remove cake onto rack and let cool completely.
- Prepare glaze right before you are ready to add it to the cake.
- In a bowl, add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, orange blossom water and 4 tablespoons of fresh juice. Whisk together and decide on what consistency you want. Add more juice if you prefer a thinner glaze. You can also use milk instead of juice or if you run out.
- Pour glaze over top of cake.
- Eat 1 to 3 slices. Clean your kitchen with vigour because you're on a sugar high.
*Store covered on counter.
Recipe adapted from Food52