rosemary olive oil clementine cake

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have you ever tried those jelly fruit slice candies? i only ever eat them at passover* — we stock up on them in lieu of [preferred] gluten-y desserts — but i suppose they’re available year round. this cake is topped with the elevated, “from scratch” version of those candies in the form of candied clementines. after simmering thin clementine slices in a sugar syrup, they become sweet and chewy but still retain their zesty flavor. they pair amazingly well with the mild, earthy flavor of the cake and the tangy cream cheese buttercream.

this is a perfect after-brunch cake, and if you omit the candied clementines and/or the buttercream, it’s 100% acceptable to eat for breakfast (though cake is always acceptable to eat for breakfast, in my opinion).

*if you’d like to make this cake during passover, molly has a kosher for passover orange cake that you could totally substitute in for the recipe i use here! just add some rosemary and you’re all set.

ingredients

cake

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp clementine or orange juice
  • 2 tbsp clementine or orange zest
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

buttercream

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp orange or clementine juice
  • 1 tsp clementine or orange zest

simple syrup & candied clementines

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 clementines, thinly sliced
  • rosemary sprigs

for the cake, preheat the oven to 350º. grease two 6-inch round pans and line with parchment paper. combine the olive oil, sugar, and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. mix on medium speed until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has lightened, about 3 minutes. in a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. whisk together the cream, juice, and zest in a measuring cup. add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, alternating with the cream and juice in three additions. stir in the rosemary. divide the batter between the two pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

for the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. add the powdered sugar gradually, then add the vanilla, cream, juice, and zest. beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

for the simple syrup and candied clementines, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add in the clementines and a few sprigs of rosemary. try to keep them in a single layer, but you can slightly overlap them if you run out of room. simmer for an hour, then use a fork or tongs to gently remove the clementines to a paper towel. reserve the leftover syrup.

to assemble, level one of the cakes with a serrated knife. place it on a cake board use a brush to soak it with the reserved simple syrup. spread with frosting, top with the other layer and soak with more syrup. spread frosting over the top. decorate with the candied clementines and sprigs of rosemary.

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