Baking Cardamom Citrus Olive Oil Cake for Hanukkah

Olive oil cake, topped with orange-cardamom glaze and candied citrus slices. Photo by Rachel Harkham.

Olive oil cake, topped with orange-cardamom glaze and candied citrus slices. Photo by Rachel Harkham.

When you think of Hanukkah food you think of latkes, right? Golden, crisp-fried potato pancakes are perfect holiday food for a cold winter night.

Lighting the menorah for eight nights during Hanukkah commemorates the little jar of oil that lit the menorah in the temple, while it was being rededicated. Eating food made with oil is the best way to celebrate this Jewish holiday.

But after a few nights of fried meals, your taste buds may yearn for a different texture and taste. This olive oil cake is just the thing to keep the celebration of oil going. Made with olive oil and incorporating bright citrus flavors and warm cardamom spice, it celebrates both flavor and olive oil in every bite.

Cardamom Citrus Olive Oil Cake (serves 8-10)

Cake Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup olive oil (non-extra virgin is recommended)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small lemon, zest only (about 1 tablespoon)
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Cake Directions:
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your baking dish with Pam® (an 8-inch cake pan is suggested).
*Beat together eggs and sugar until they are pale, fluffy and very thick.
*Slowly pour olive oil into the egg-sugar mixture; then beat together gently (with electric mixer on lowest speed).
*In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and cardamom.
*Gently fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing completely.
*Pour mixture into prepared cake pan and bake for 30 minutes—or until the top is light golden brown and/or a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
*After cake has cooled, remove from pan, put on a large plate, and pour orange cardamom glaze over the top of the cake, allowing glaze to drip lazily down the sides.

Orange-Cardamom Glaze Ingredients:
1½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon orange zest
5 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Orange-Cardamom Glaze Directions:
*Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until the glaze is thick enough coat the back of your spoon.
*If glaze gets too think, dilute it with a tablespoon of orange juice (or more, if need be; add one tablespoon at a time).

Candied Citrus Slices Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
Half a lemon and/or orange, sliced into rounds

Candied Citrus Slices Directions:
*In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and water.
*Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Boil gently, stirring every so often, for 12 to 15 minutes—or until the mixture becomes thick and syrupy.
*Add fruit slices to syrup and stir to submerge them.
*Simmer for about five minutes until fruit is tender and slightly shrunken.
*Gently remove fruit from syrup and place artfully on top of the glazed cake.
*Optional: Save the leftover citrus simple syrup in the pan for use in mixed drinks (my personal recommendation!) or other desserts.

For more of Rachel’s recipes, visit her website, or check out her new cookbook, “Get Cooking! A Jewish American Family Cookbook,” written with Doni Zasloff Thomas.

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