Monday, November 8, 2010

Orange Olive Oil Tea Cake

Every month I receive a copy of a magazine called "Specialty Food". It comes to me from having attended the Fancy Food Show last year and because I have a cookie business.
The magazine has articles on the newest food trends and products, so it's a good one for me to refer to..but I also like the recipes included and this cake was in an article called " A Taste of Portugal".
Apparently Portugal is known for its delicious desserts..who knew! I mean to say, we read so much about France, Germany and Italy for baking and so little about Portugal.
The correct name for this cake is Torta de Laranja or Orange Tea Cake.
The recipe in the magazine yielded enough for two 4 pound cakes..but, c'mon, that's alotta cake for 2 people! So I halved the recipe and made one cake in my old bundt type pan.

What I loved about this recipe is that the flour and sugar is given in weight amounts rather than by the cup amounts. I did measure the cup amounts, though, just in case you don't have a scale. I do highly recommend one, however!

The cake calls for a light tasting olive oil and lots of orange zest and orange juice. It makes a wonderful dense but moist cake with a great citrus flavor from the orange. It's said that this cake improves as it sits a day or two but I made it this morning and had to cut into a piece to show you this afternoon's so good! Can't wait for tomorrow.

Begin by spraying your bundt pan with a non stick spray, ( I personally don't care for using the spray so I greased the pan with Crisco), then dust with flour and tap out the excess.

In a large bowl, blend the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a standing mixer bowl using the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium high speed til the mixture is thick and pale yellow.

This will take about 4 minutes.

Turn the speed to low and add the flour...

And the oil alternately beginning and ending with the flour.

Mix just til a few traces of flour remain.

Add the orange zest...

And orange juice and mix til the batter is smooth.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer with a rubber spatula to be sure it's all mixed together.

Then pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes, covering the top lightly with foil if it browns too quickly, ( mine didn't). And test for doneness if tester comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
Let it sit in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Orange Tea Cake or Torta de Laranja ( from "Specialty Foods Magazine")

Makes one 4 pound cake
Nonstick vegetable spray ( I greased the pan with Crisco shortening)
1 pound, 1 ounce (3 1/3 cups) unbleached AP flour plus more for dusting pan
1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp. salt
5 large eggs
1 1/2 pounds (scant 3 cups) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups light flavored extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups orange juice, preferably fresh
3 tbsp. fresh orange zest
Confectioners' sugar for garnish
Position rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 12 cup bundt pan with non stick spray ( or grease with shortening) and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
1. In a large bowl, blend the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium high speed til the mixture is thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes.
3. Turn speed to low and add the flour mixture and oil alternately in 3 or 4 additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat til a few traces of flour remain, scraping sides and bottom of bowl to be sure it's all mixed together.
4. Add orange juice and zest and beat til batter is smooth.
5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or til tester comes out with a few moist crumbs still clinging. If top browns too quickly while cake bakes, cover lightly with foil.
6. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely. Cover and let stand overnight.
Before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar.
Note: A light glaze made of a little orange juice and confectioners' sugar would also be great to pour over cake.
Remember, this cake improves after a day or two so it can be made ahead of time. The cake will keep at least a week when lightly covered.


  1. This is Leite's recipe from his Culinaria website and Portuguese cookbook. I am dying to make this and was planning on it for Thanksgiving!
    Did you love it? There is a lot of oil in the recipe, and I want to make sure it was the best one around, I am always on the quest for the best olive oil cake!
    Yours came out perfectly!

  2. Stacey,
    Although I found this recipe in the magazine I mentioned in my post, it wasn't til after I posted it that I notice Leite's recipe.
    The cake is so delicious, you'll love it!
    The amount of olive oil isn't too much and the cake comes out dense but light with a tight crumb. It does get better and better as it sits. Olive oil cakes are the best!

  3. Hello, just found this post when looking for some cookie recipies.
    You have a great blog.

    I'm from Portugal and in fact this is one of the cakes that we usually do to serve with some tea or coffee in the afternoon on weekends.
    This is not what we call torta. for us torta is like a sheet cake that we roll into a... well roll.
    This is more what we call Pão de ló and in this case an orange one.
    You can use lemon zest, coffee, cocoa powder.

    Portugal has a very rich gastronomy and has a lot of delicious desserts especially made with eggs.

    Thank you for posting a Portuguese recipe, is always a pleasure to see my country's recipies posted worldwide.

    Take care

  4. Thanks so much for your comment and for letting us know the correct name for this delicious cake.
    I look forward to making this cake again..and perhaps try one of the other flavors you suggest. Thanks!



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