The Furies got this recipe from our customer, Cathie Greenwold, and she graciously let us add it to the site! The addition of cornmeal in the batter almost gives it a texture similar to cornbread. When I made it, I hesitated to use all of the syrup, don't hesitate! The syrup blends into the cake and it holds up beautifully. Final note, I of course, used plain Greek yogurt. My favorite way to eat this is as a coffee cake for breakfast.
This recipe is from Gran. She always glazed it with chocolate, but I like the syrup and cream better, so that’s what I’ve included here.
For the syrup
- 2 large navel oranges (about 1-1/4 lb.)
- 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
For the cake
- 3/4 cup olive oil; more for the pan
- 8 oz. (1-3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 oz. (about 2 heaping Tbs.) fine yellow cornmeal
- 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 2/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 oz. crème fraîche (about 1/4 cup); more for serving – can use sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 1 sprig
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Make the syrup
- Finely zest the oranges (for about 1 packed Tbs.), and reserve for the cake batter. Using a knife, shave off the oranges’ skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, cut between the membranes to remove the segments, dropping them into the bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membranes, and add to the segments (about 3/4 cup total). Set aside.
- Combine 1/3 cup water, the sugar, and rosemary in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. The syrup will be fluid, not thick. Remove from the heat, and stir in the reserved orange juice and segments. Let cool to room temperature.
Make the cake
- Heat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan with oil, fit the bottom with a piece of parchment. Oil the parchment as well.
- Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Beat the 3/4 cup oil, sugar, eggs, yogurt, finely chopped rosemary, vanilla, and reserved zest until well combined, about 1 minute. In three stages, with the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, scraping down the bowl, until the batter comes together. It will be very thick.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and spread the mixture evenly. Bake the cake until lightly brown at the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes. Place the pan on a cooling rack, and cool until slightly warm.
- Run a paring knife around the perimeter of the cake to separate it from the pan. Set a plate on top of the cake, and flip it over (remove and discard the parchment). Then flip the cake back onto the rack, and set it over a rimmed baking sheet.
- Using a fork, pierce the top of the cake with many holes so the syrup will soak into the cake. Spoon all of the syrup—but not the orange segments—over the cake. Serve the sliced cake topped with a spoonful of the orange segments and a dollop of crème fraîche.
Gran never saved the syrup, but I often reserve the syrup that drips into the rimmed pan if there’s very much. I strain it to remove any crumbs, throw the orange segments back into the syrup and save it to use as a simple syrup to pour over fruit, in a pork roast basting sauce, or in drinks. It will keep in a glass jar, refrigerated, for about a week. There usually isn’t much, but if we’re having company and we might make cocktails this is a nifty secret ingredient.