I’m finally getting around to sharing one of the two great new recipes I made last weekend. What I loved about this recipe was its delicious simplicity. While I love an occasional cupcake or slice of cake with really good buttercream (read: not that cheap, grainy stuff made with shortening), I find that my taste in cake increasingly turns to those quieter concoctions that don’t need the flash of frosting. This one fits the bill. As a bonus, it involves citrus, which is what my tastebuds tend to turn to in desserts if I’m taking a break from chocolate, my true love. This recipe comes from The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, a book I plan to cook from a LOT this summer! Yes, this cake has a cup-and-a-half of sugar, but again, it doesn’t have frosting, and it has other healthful ingredients like oranges and whole-wheat pastry flour and a moderate amount of olive oil.

Tunisian Orange-Olive Oil Cake

Adapted from The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
Makes one 9-inch cake, 8 servings


Butter and flour for the cake pan
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 small organically raised oranges, preferably blood oranges (about 3/4 pound)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform cake pan
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Slice off the tops and bottoms of each orange, where the skin is very thick; discard. Cut the oranges into chunks, skin and all, discarding any seeds (seeds will make the batter bitter).
  4. Put the orange chunks into a food processor and pulse until you have a chunky puree. Pour the olive oil through the feed tube while the processor is running, and mix until it seems slightly creamy.
  5. In a separate bowl. beat the eggs until very thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in the vanilla.
  6. Fold about one-third of the flour mixture into the eggs, then fold in about one-third of he orange mixture. Continue to add and fold in the flour and orange mixtures alternately until everything is thoroughly combined. 
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for 20 minute, then lower the temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes more OR until the cake is golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove cake from oven and let cool. Remove springform pan sides and serve. (Wrapped in plastic wrap, this cake stayed nice and moist for a few days…until it was gone.)
In other news, you can find my latest “On Nutrition” column in The Seattle Times here. Please don’t feed the comment trolls. Sigh.