Orange Pecan Olive Oil Cake

The holidays are long gone, resolutions have been made and broken, snowmen have been built and hills have been sledded, the Super Bowl has been won and lost, and the groundhog has seen his shadow…Dear Winter, all that is exciting during your months (and I am including a large mean fat rodent checking out his shadow like Peter Pan in this list) have come and now are gone.  You are free to leave this shin dig whenever you see fit.  No one would be upset.  Promise.

I have been wearing a heavy coat for what feels like months.  Boots have replaced flats and cute shoes.  I couldn’t imagine wearing a short sleeved shirt anywhere.   And honestly, I haven’t been warm since August.  I also haven’t felt fully rested in months…or at least since the sun brought warmth and not just light….and lets be honest, that light is waning.

I think I am part bear.  Winter hits and I need 2-3x more sleep than spring, summer, and fall.  And not only do I need more sleep, but my desire to do anything productive is absent.  My level of productivity is about 30% – as I look around, my house is proof of this.  Laundry is piled as high as the dishes (college roommates reading this…it is worse than normal, yikes!).  Coats are strewn over backs of chairs and banisters and boots, flats, and wedges are scattered throughout.  I have forgotten how to dust and does mail need to be sorted during the winter?

I become a big ole sleepy lazy bear.  Or a human of a bear.  Or a bear of a human.  I don’t know…but I hibernate.

And about this time of year…yep, February is about right.  I get a wee-bit annoyed with myself , but there is no getting me out of this funk.  It just lingers until the days get longer and the sun begins to provide warmth again.  I can push myself to do the things and chores and daily tasks that need to happen, but it takes an enormous amount of effort.  The bed is too warm and my eyelids to heavy to wake-up and be productive.  Dishes or exercise be damned.  The couch too appealing and the book too good to start any laundry.  Trips to Target even seem like work…how wrong, right?  Suppose I have a touch of seasonal associated depressive disorder?  Nah, I wouldn’t take it that far…I am by no means depressed.  I am just saying sweat pants and a warm blanket and long novels and naps are more attractive than grown up duties.  Also, if you stop by…don’t mind the mess…it’ll be cleaned by March.  Or mid-March.  Perhaps April…March is still rather frigid in my parts.

With all of this being said…I still make it into the kitchen and whip things up … just the kitchen doesn’t get cleaned up as quickly as it should or would in other seasons.  And I still have to eat and I still need a snacks and my sweet tooth never hibernates.  Never ever.  And what is better than a good book, a hot cup of whatever gets your goat this time of year, and a piece of snacking cake?  Nothing.  That is the answer.  And I have the perfect snacking cake for you today.  It is great as a light dessert, a mid afternoon sweet treat with your mid-day caffeine boost, and quite excellent as a Saturday morning breakfast.  Oh, and it tastes like oranges.  Not overly so…just perfectly so.

 

Orange Pecan Olive Oil Cake
 
Makes 1 - 9 inch cake
Ingredients
  • 1 + ½ Cups Pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 4 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 + ½ Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • ½ Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Orange Zest
  • ½ Cup Olive Oil ( good quality)
  • Powder sugar for dusting/serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray springform pan with a non-stick spray or olive oil (bottom and sides).
  2. Grind pecans in food processor until finely ground (not powdery). Whisk ground pecans with flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until they have lightened in color and they are frothy - about 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly add sugar and beat until mixture is pale yellow and thickened - about 4 minutes.
  5. Gradually add pecan/flour mixture and then mix in orange juice, olive oil, and orange zest, mixing just until combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Place springform pan onto a rimmed baking sheet and place in preheated oven and bake for about 50 - 60 minutes, until toothpick when inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack.
Notes
Cake my rise and then sink...it happens. To avoid this, make sure to grease the sides of the pan well (so cake won't climb up the sides) and DO NOT UNDER beat the eggs. If your cake sinks...who cares, it'll taste great and no one knows but you that it shouldn't have sank. P.S. mine sank...

Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2007

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