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Orange Cornmeal Cake

By 8:28 AM , , ,

I've been sick since we got back from Florida last weekend, so all of the cooking has been falling to The Husband (as evidenced by our posts).  We had a friend of ours coming over for dinner earlier this week and decided to go with a Mexican theme.  Hubby was handling most of the dinner, but I said I would take care of dessert. I considered making a tres leches cake, but decided that would be way too heavy after a filling meal. 

The in-laws had sent us back with tons of oranges, tangerines and grapefruits and so I started looking for a recipe that could incorporate one or all of those fruits.  When I came across this recipe in the blog, Linden & Rosemary I knew it was just what I was looking for - something light and not too sweet.

This rustic little cake was a huge hit with everyone. I was a bit concerned that it wouldn't be distinguishable from cornbread, but it was obviously sweeter than cornbread (even the cornbread I make) but not so sweet that the orange, cornmeal and even a little olive oil didn't shine through.

The orange juice and zest really keep the cake light and bright. And topping the batter with a layer of sugar really gives the finished product a great texture and crunch.

I also love that this cake requires minimal ingredients (while not being short on flavor), comes together so easily and doesn't have a long bake time!

A few notes:

- Be careful and start checking your cake at around 24-25 minutes in. Mine was ready to be pulled out at 25 1/2 mintues. Nothing is worse than a dry cake!
- Though the recipe calls for non-extra virgin olive oil, that is all I had, so I used it.
- I used 100% whole wheat flour.
- I also used freshly squeezed orange juice - I think this makes all the difference in the world!
- I didn't measure out the 2 tablespoons of sugar for topping the cake. I just made sure the top was evenly coated with sugar crystals.

Orange Cornmeal Cake

2 large eggs
1/2 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)
3/4 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
Zest of 1 large orange
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
1/2 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375F and spray an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, 3/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. In a small bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk lightly until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool the cake in pan for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and invert onto a plate. Re-invert cake onto a rack to cool completely.

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