I think I might be obsessed with citrus olive oil cakes. Western Europe is known for them and I’ve made both Spanish and Italian versions in the past. Of course, when I found out that there was a Portugese version I just had to make it and it did not disappoint. Bolo da laranja is the perfect post-dinner or mid-afternoon cake. Or breakfast? An anytime snack, really.
As a relentless planner, everything was coming together for my Portuguese-themed petisco party. There was no way I wanted to even attempt to make nata, or Portuguese egg tarts – I just had no time! My girlfriend mentioned she was going to bring some over to the party but knowing myself, I had planned ahead to make a backup dessert and thank god I did because the bakery my friend had intended to go to was closed! The cake I had made was seriously huge to feed a crowd.
What I loved about this recipe was that this was a true pound cake – it stayed moist for DAYS. I mean, DAYS. I had baked the cake late Thursday evening and it was still fantastic with no sign of dryness even on Monday. I would’ve loved it to be just a touch moister so next time I make it, I’d probably swap out a ½ cup olive oil for the orange juice.
Overall, it was a crowd pleaser at my party, my office job and my evening job. Success!
BOLO DA LARANJA – makes 1 cake (from Leite’s Culinaria)
Nonstick baking spray
4 large navel oranges
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsps baking powder
1 ¾ tsp kosher salt
5 large eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups mild, extra-virgin olive oil
Position a rack in the middle of the oven, remove any racks above, and crank up the heat to 350°F (180°C). Coat a 12-cup Bundt or tube pan with baking spray and set aside.
Finely grate the zest of 3 oranges and then squeeze the juice from 4 of them. You should have 1 1/2 cups orange juice.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Slowly pour in the granulated sugar and continue to beat until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Switch to low speed and alternate adding the flour mixture and the oil, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just a few wisps of flour remain. Pour in the orange juice and zest and whirl for a few seconds to bring the batter together.
Gently scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 1 1/4 hours. Check the cake occasionally and if the top begins to brown a touch too much, loosely cover it with foil. When the cake is done, transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. (Don’t forget to come back after 15 minutes. Seriously. If the cake remains in the pan too long, the sugars begin to cool and stick to the pan.)
Turn the cake out onto the wire rack and let it cool completely. (We know. Resist the temptation.) Place the cake on a covered cake stand and let it sit overnight. (Seriously. This dense, moist, fruity cake only gets better with age. Don’t even think about taking a bite until the day after you make it—or even the day after that.) Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.