One of the books I have been absolutely enjoying for the past few months is The Modern Baker, by Chef Nick Malgieri. I took a break from baking for almost 4 months and I have to say, it was difficult.
I love to bake, especially cakes, and I missed the process. Getting all the ingredients together, reading the recipes carefully, preparing the pans for the batter, making sure the oven is set properly with the right temperature, expecting that delicious smell in the house, and the best part of all is when the cake is out of the oven, and my children gathered around it with excitement asking me what I have baked this time.
Baking is not hard in my opinion, it just requires a little patience. Measuring is a big component, and quality ingredients are a must. Now the high altitude here in Colorado can really steal the joy of baking sometimes. During my first 6 months in Colorado, I had five cakes go to the garbage, and a few tears rolling down my cheeks.
The use of olive oil, produces a lighter cake texture, and it is a healthier choice for those who have diet restriction or just are wanting to stay away from the unhealthier fats. If you never tried baking with olive oil, don’t be afraid… olive oil has been part of Mediterranean baking for centuries.
I chose to fill and top the cake with some candied oranges, they have a beautiful vibrant color. The filling between layers are oranges slices cooked in a hot sugar mixture. The top layer has very thin slices of oranges, with the peel on, and when they were cooked in the sugar mixture, the peel became very soft.
Taken from the book the Modern Baker
- 3 large navel oranges
- 3 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups of sugar
- 1 ½ cups pure olive oil (do not use extra-olive oil)
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat oven 350 F, and set rack in the middle level of the oven.
- In a bowl, zest of 3 grated oranges and add eggs. Whisk until well combined. Add sugar, whisk until the color lighten a bit, about 1 minute. Whisk in the oil and milk.
- In another bowl, stir together the remaining sugar with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture in three parts, whisk until smooth after each addition.
- Prepare two 9 inch pans, well-oiled, using parchment paper on bottom. Divide the batter equally between pans.
- Bake cakes until well risen, deep golden, and firm in the center when pressed with a fingertip. My cake was done in 45 minutes. Cool the cakes on racks for 5 minutes.
It is so nice to be baking again! Do you like to bake? Have you ever had a baking disaster moment, due to high altitude or something else? I would love to hear from you!