This show-stopping holiday dessert is both delicious and easy to make. Subtly scented with fennel pollen and blood orange, the dense sweet cake is kept incredibly moist with our Jean Reno olive oil. While optional, the mascarpone cream and candied citrus elevate this treat from tea-time to special occasion.
- 1½ cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal (we used medium grind)
- 1½ cup organic cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fennel pollen
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1¼ cup whole milk
- 1¼ cup Jean Reno Black Fruity Olive Oil
- 3 blood oranges, juice & zest
- ¼ cup Cointreau or Triple Sec
FOR THE CANDIED CITRUS
- 2 cups water
- 2½ cups sugar
- 4-5 organic citrus fruits, any combination of limes, lemon, blood orange, kumquats, and/or orange
FOR THE MASCARPONE ICING
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon blood orange zest
- Make the candied citrus: Thoroughly wash citrus; cut into ¼-inch slices. Whisk together water and 2½ cups sugar in a non-reactive sauté pan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil then carefully add citrus slices. Lower heat to simmer and cook, turning occasionally, until citrus is soft and slightly translucent, about 22 minutes. Using tongs, carefully place citrus slices in a single layer on a wire rack set over a piece of parchment. If any seeds remain in the citrus, carefully pop them out with a toothpick. Let the candied citrus drain and set up overnight, turning the slices occasionally.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fennel pollen.
- In a second bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. When evenly combined, whisk in olive oil, ¼ cup of fresh blood orange juice, 2 tablespoons of blood orange zest, and Cointreau. Fold in dry ingredients in 2 batches, mixing until just combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake until cake is deeply golden, slightly puffed, and is pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 60-70 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
- Cool cake for about 30 minutes before removing the outer ring, then cool completely.
- When cake is completely cool and just before serving, make the mascarpone cream: In a medium bowl whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, using a whisk or hand mixer on medium speed. Be careful not to overbeat. In a second bowl, whisk together mascarpone, confectioner’s sugar, and zest until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until completely smooth and incorporated.
- Spread icing in the center of the cake, keeping a margin of the crispy edge bare. Arrange candied citrus on top of icing and serve immediately.