Sensational Citrus Cake
Citrus Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Kumquat Infused Syrup
I never know what to do with the kumquats our tiny tree produces. This year it was particularly prolific, probably due to all the rain. In the past, I have made Kumquat Infused Vodka, but this year I was pretty much just letting the corgis and squirrels eat the fruit, but then I chanced upon a recipe for Candied Cocktail Kumquats from chef Ben Mims in the LA Times.
(I had to get those kumquats off the tree before the Corgis … looking slightly guilty … and our visiting squirrel … he eats well at our house … decided to make them part of their 5 A Day program.)
The recipe is quick and easy. Just cook the kumquats in sugar, water and Cointreau (or white wine vinegar for an alcohol free version) and “Wow!” The concoction is great in vodka martinis or even eating the sweetened kumquats straight out of the jar. If you have ever tasted a fresh kumquat they are just a tad (ok, a lot) tart. (Truthfully, I don’t like them all that much alone, but the tree makes a cheerful, orange focal spot on the patio.)
This recipe takes away (most) of the bite of the kumquat. After tasting this I knew I had to pour that kumquat infused syrup over a cake …. Think of a citrus Baba au Rhum cake (yum!). When in Paris we always try to order a Baba au Rhum for dessert, which is often served with a tray full of different rums to pour over your slice of cake.
But then Tom reminded me of a fabulous Orange Cake we used to eat at a now closed restaurant called Girasole in Larchmont Village. The owners were a husband and wife team from Vittorio Veneto in Italy. The husband ran the front of the restaurant, while the wife was the chef. The secret ingredient in the Girasole cake was orange marmalade. I did not have any orange marmalade, but I did have a jar of grapefruit marmalade from Laura Ann’s Jams (love her jams!).
After all that, I ended up making an olive oil cake with grapefruit marmalade, candied kumquats and kumquat infused syrup. Whew!
For the olive oil cake, I started with my Naked Lemon Olive Oil Cake from last year. Be sure to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil, the kind you would use in a salad dressing or drizzled over focaccia bread or pasta. Don’t worry if you aren’t a big olive oil fan as the olive oil is not the main flavor of this cake, but it does make it rich and moist; so moist, in fact, that the cake is actually better a day or two later.
With each bite, the tiny bits of candied kumquats add a bright, citrusy note to this deliciously moist cake. So, here you go, Citrus Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Kumquat Infused Syrup … the only way to eat a kumquat!
Ben Mims’ Boozy Candied Cocktail Kumquats: (Make at least a week in advance so the flavors can meld)
2 c. kumquats (cleaned and stems removed)
2 c. granulated sugar
2 c. water
Pinch Kosher salt
2 T. orange liquor (Cointreau, Triple Sec or Grand Marnier; for a non-alcohol option use white wine vinegar)
Place the kumquats in a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar, water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally. The recipe says to simmer until the kumquats swell slightly and look glossy, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the liqueur. Carefully transfer to a quart-size glass jar. Close the lid and let cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for at least a week before using. Use within 3 weeks.
Citrus Olive Oil Bundt Cake:
1 c. Candied Cocktail Kumquats. diced and seeds removed (about 40 – 45 kumquats. If you don’t have enough kumquats, add some orange zest to make up the difference)
2 eggs at room temperature
1 c. sugar (plus some for dusting the cake pan)
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 t. Kosher or fine sea salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2/3 c. good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. marmalade (orange, grapefruit or lemon
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 c. kumquat syrup from the Candied Cocktail Kumquats
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 10-cup (9 inch) Bundt cake pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and dusting with sugar to coat the sides.
Whisk flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the olive oil, marmalade and buttermilk.
In a mixer on low speed, beat the eggs and sugar until pale, thick ribbons form (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla. With the mixer still on low, add dry and wet ingredients in three additions, starting with the dry and ending with the wet. Stir in the diced kumquats.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick in center comes out clean (35-40 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a wooden skewer, poke holes all over the cake. Spoon ¾ cup of the kumquat syrup over the cake and let soak in for 10 minutes.
Invert the cake onto a rimmed cake plate and drizzle the remaining ¼ cup syrup over the top. (Use a rimmed plate so the syrup doesn’t run off.) Cool completely before serving.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Recipe for Ben Mims’ Boozy Candied Cocktail Kumquats in the LA Times.