Olive Oil-Madeira Cake with Blood Orange Compote

Olive Oil-Madeira Cake with Blood Orange Compote

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 12
Fruity extra-virgin olive oil replaces butter in this unique cake. The batter is scented with fresh orange zest along with sweet, raisiny Madeira. The orange flavor of the cake is amplified by a compote of blood oranges and orange marmalade, with chopped fresh mint stirred in for a cooling touch.


  • Unsalted butter for greasing
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 6 Tbs. sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup medium-sweet or sweet Madeira
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 blood oranges
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup orange marmalade


Preheat an oven to 350°F. Generously grease a one-piece tube pan with butter, then sprinkle the bottom and sides with 2 Tbs. of the sugar, tilting and tapping the pan to coat it evenly.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a stand mixer on high speed, beat the eggs, orange zest, vanilla and the 1 1/3 cups sugar until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. With the mixer running, add the Madeira and milk in a slow, steady stream, then drizzle in the olive oil and beat until thoroughly blended. Stop the mixer and sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture in 3 batches, folding it in with a rubber spatula until only a few dry streaks remain.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is browned and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, using a paring knife, cut away the peel from the blood oranges and cut the flesh into segments, reserving any juice. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring the pomegranate juice and the remaining 4 Tbs. sugar to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by half, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the blood orange segments and juice and return to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until the orange segments have broken down, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the mint and orange marmalade. Transfer the compote to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

To serve, invert the cake onto a large plate, then turn it right side up. Cut the cake into wedges, divide among serving plates and top with the blood orange compote. Serves 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).
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