Technically speaking, this light and pleasing orange cake is not Renato’s mom’s. Renato’s mom would be the first to admit this. It belonged to his mother’s neighbor, a lovely French woman named Annette, who arrived and left their neighborhood in Queens before he was born. So, yes, this is really Annette’s Olive Oil Orange Bundt (Annette from Marseille, France, to give proper attribution), but his morn adapted and baked it so many times, he truly associates it only with her. Mom’s Olive Oil Orange Bundt is great for breakfast with tea and coffee, or sliced and served in the afternoon with a tart dessert wine.
Throughout Renato’s entire childhood, he enjoyed this cake sans glaze. I can only assume that his mom thought a glaze was unnecessary and too sweet. However, I will admit that this quick-and-easy orange glaze makes a great visual and is a great way to use up the oranges you zested for the cake.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- ¾ cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly grated zest of 2 oranges
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar, sifted, for dusting
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; alternatively, butter it well, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks until they are pale and light; slowly pour in the sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add the yogurt and olive oil and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the orange zest and vanilla, and mix until just incorporated.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two parts, beating after each addition until just combined (this will take about 10 seconds). Scrape down the bowl and beat again for 5 seconds.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Scoop 1 cup of the egg whites into the batter. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold them in. After about 30 seconds of folding, add the remaining egg whites and gently fold until they are almost completely combined. Do not rush the folding process.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, or until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan (I sometimes use an offset spatula for this) and turn it out onto the rack.
Just before serving, dust the cake with the confectioners’ sugar.
The cake can he stored at room temperature, covered tightly, for up to 3 days.
To make the glaze:
In a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar and orange juice until the glaze is pourable. (If it is too thick, add a few more drops of orange juice. If it is too thin, add a few more tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar) Drizzle the glaze along the crown of the Bundt, allowing it to drip down the sides. Allow the glaze to set before serving.