The weather has finally cooled off here in Charleston, and the other day I found myself craving a dessert that tastes like fall. I baked this candied orange olive oil cake topped with chopped pistachios for dinner at a neighbor’s house. It’s not the easiest cake to transport, though, because of the accompanying cardomom-scented syrup. As I walked down the street with a pitcher of the syrup in one hand and the Gravy Baby’s sticky hand in the other, I had this temporary flash of panic as I envisioned us tumbling like dominoes onto the sidewalk and landing in a pile on top of my beautiful cake. Seconds later the pitcher of syrup would fly through the air, end-on-end and coating us thoroughly with magnificent stickiness. These are the types of visions I have these days as the parent of a toddler. Disaster visions.
Luckily, we all made it the eight houses or so down the street with the cake and syrup intact. This cake was simply gorgeous to eat — full of rich cardamom and orange flavor balanced with the herbaceousness of the olive oil. I didn’t have semolina on hand, but substituting for extra all-purpose flour didn’t seem to trip up the texture too much. Plus, the cardamom pods we brought back from Sri Lanka finally came in handy. Oh, and another tip — don’t try to make this cake while gabbing on the phone to a sister. There are far too many sequential steps to allow for wild hand gestures (those usually are an integral part of my phone calls with my sisters).
For more on this cake, visit the recipe here.