Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Olive Oil & Orange Cake with Pistachios

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Soooo, I was working at the CeBIT Computer Expo two weeks ago. For the oblivious ones among you (read: probably everyone), CeBIT is the largest IT fair in the world. Attending a fair that is the “barometer of the state of the art of computer technology” (thank you, Wikipedia) is pretty amazing, huh? Well, I wouldn’t know. I was busy ruining people’s days. All day, every day. 

Olive Oil & Orange Cake with Pistachios

I was working at one of the entrances making sure that only those who were supposed to enter actually got in. That included telling families with children that they could not attend (you had to be at least 16) despite having valid (and pricey, I may add) tickets and coming all the way from France/Greece/Norway/whatever. People don’t like to hear it and I don’t like telling them. It was a lose-lose situation, really.  I didn’t make the rules. It was not my fault but I was there, so I was hit by their fury. And all I could do was stay calm, smile and apologise.  I mean, it’s not like it wasn’t written directly on the ticket in big bold letters but what can you do…
Anyways. Breaks lasted from five to thirty minutes, depending on how busy it was which even in a best-case scenario is not enough time to really see anything. The furthest I got was to the hall right behind the entrance. And what did it have? Robots? Future Social Media? 3D technologies (It was all there, somewhere)? No. Effing Ethernet hubs, switches and routers. But there were stalls giving away free lattes and popcorn, so I had carbs and caffeine to keep my spirits (and heart rate) up. 

The recipe I share today is not mine but adapted from dear blogger friend Rowena over at Apron and Sneakers who posted it merely a week ago. The moment I saw this cake I had cravings. Cravings for something I have never eaten before. The concoction was just so intriguing and her presentation so appealing that I thought about it all week so when I finally had some time to spare on the weekend, I was a man on a mission when I hit the street market. 

Let’s just say, the cake did not disappoint. It’s amazing! While it’s not her cake per se, she made several changes and additions. All of them are an improvement, in my opinion, and are what really makes this cake so scrumptious and moist. 

Olive Oil & Orange Cake with Pistachios

Olive Oil & Orange Cake with Pistachios
Adapted from Apron and Sneakers.

Rowena wrote it makes two 22cm round cakes, but just like her I made one big cake. Mine had a Ø of 26cm. While I, too, made a few very minor changes, it is essentially her recipe that you see here.

For the cake:
  • 400g (14 oz) pastry flour, sifted  (plus additional for the baking pan)
  • 250g (8.8 oz) sugar
  • 200ml (6.75 fl. oz) olive oil (plus additional for the baking pan)
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • Grated zest of one untreated orange
  • 250ml (8.45 fl. oz) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 40g (1.4 oz) ground pistachios
  • 1ts baking powder
  • Seeds of one vanilla pod

For the syrup:

  • 250g (8.8 oz) sugar
  • 250ml (8.45 fl. oz) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of half an orange (I simply forgot about it, to be honest)
  • 1 orange, sliced thinly
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Grease & flour baking pan.
  3. Whip egg whites until stiff, refrigerate.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and vanilla seeds until fluffy. 
  5. Add sugar, whisking continuously.
  6. Add olive oil little by little, keep whisking.  
  7. Add sifted flour, baking powder and orange zest.  Mix well.
  8. Add orange juice little by little, mixing well.
  9. Fold in egg whites.  
  10. Pour mass in baking pan. 
  11. Sprinkle top with crushed pistachios. 
  12. Bake for 40 minutes (30 if you make two smaller cakes.) with oven vent on (mine became suspiciously dark after 20 minutes, so I turned it off again).  Check centre with a toothpick.  If it comes out clean, it's cooked.
  13. Let it cool off a little.  Make sure cake is loosened from sides of the pan while still left inside.

While the cake is baking:
  1. In a small pot, combine sugar, orange juice and zest (that I forgot, like I said) over low heat until sugar has dissolved
  2. Add orange slices.  Move them carefully in the saucepan.
  3. Increase heat and boil for 5 - 6 minutes or until syrup thickens.

Final touches:
  1. With a toothpick, prick little holes evenly into the cake
  2. Pour over half of the hot syrup little by little, letting it soak into the cake.
  3. Carefully remove from pan.
  4. Cover the top of the cake with the orange slices and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.
  5. Let the cake cool.
  6. To serve, cut the cake and pour over remaining syrup.



  1. My husband used to go to CeBIT until a few years ago. I always wished that I could tag along!

    I love Rowena's blog. She really makes delicious food that everything looks so nicely presented. Your version of this cake looks very lovely and I love it. Hoping to grab once piece off from the screen.

  2. It should really be awful to say no entry to a family who traveled all the way from other countries, or even from other cities. I don't envy you on that.
    Thank you for the nice words Tobias. Now that you posted this cake, I am the one who is craving for it too. Haha! It's contagious!
    Thank you too Nami!

    1. Ha. I guess it can really have that effect on people! ;)

      The job lasted only for a week. But trust me, being the grinch for much longer than that is not quite the kind of thing I would like to do. By adding that age restriction, they tried to avoid the hoards of adolescent 'technology enthusiasts' they've had in previous years, I was told. Guess it actually hit the wrong kind of people, mostly.

      Anyways, thank YOU for translating, sharing and perfecting a recipe for us to enjoy!

  3. Beautiful cake! The combination of flavors sounds really delicious. I've never made a cake with olive oil but am always tempted to try. Is the flavor strong? I'm just afraid the rest of my family won't eat it, and I don't want to be stuck being the only one! But it would be a good option for when I know I can share it with a group of people. Is the olive oil at the forefront or the background? How would this cake be with butter? Just not as savory, maybe?

    1. Hi Melissa! It was a first using olive oil in something sweet for me, too. It's undeniably present and not subtle in any way. I've had a moment of doubt, but it is genuinely working for me, here. I mean, while it's there, the oil is not overpowering the other ingredients. Plus, the vanilla is really taking off the edge, in a way. However, this is not one of those cakes I would call 'kid friendly' per se, so I understand your scepticism. I don't know how well the batter would handle butter cosnistency-wise, so my first thoughts are:

      a) Replacing the olive oil with canola, sunflower seed or any other oil with little taste of its own.
      b) Replacing half of the olive oil with another kind to attenuate the taste.
      b) Make two smaller cakes using olive oil in one and a different kind of oil in the other.

      Hope I could help.

  4. Hi Tobias! How're you? I have not baked cake with olive oil before, but the flavours you incorporated seems quite intriguing. However, I do love orange and pistachios.. ;). Have a good weekend!! xoxo, Jo

  5. Looks yummy! Nice site and photos also. Have a nice weekend!

  6. What a beautiful looking cake. I love the combination of nuts and citrus, they work so well together. Sorry to hear you've been so busy xx

  7. The cake is gorgeous and I am craving for it! And the combination of orange and pistachio is a match made in heaven.

    1. that looks yummy.. i like it how theres no butter!!

  8. Your photos are so gorgeous! I love how the orange contrasts so well with the dark background. And the cake is absolutely mouth-watering.

  9. Beautiful styling :) I love how moist it is!

  10. You're right that I have not heard of that conference, but it sounds like it would be cool if you had indeed gotten to enjoy it! There's nothing worse than being at the door in those situations. Yikes. At least this cake was a bright spot on your week. This cake is just gorgeous, I can see why you made it as soon as you saw it! This might be a chain reaction :-)

  11. I love orange cakes and I love olive oil; come to think of it, I love pistachios too. This cake is so bright and cheery I feel like making it now, like asap.

  12. Oh wow, I would have hated to turn people away. I can't believe they did not look at their tickets. The conference sounds like an event my tec son would love.
    As for this gorgeous cake...very lovely recipe, I can see why you wanted to try it right away :)

  13. I stumbled upon your blog and really fell in love with your posts! I'd be coming back for sure :)

  14. What a nice looking cake! Your blog is beautiful!


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