Orange & Olive Oil Tea Cake

I feel kind of sorry for loaf cakes. From a purely superficial standpoint, they can’t compete at all with layer cakes. No filling. No frosting. Kind of a blah shape. For a long time, I thought they were a waste of dessert. OK, for a long time I thought anything but a chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting was a waste of dessert, but I’ve matured significantly since those days. Even if those days were only a few years ago.

When our friends invited us over for dinner last night, I immediately thought about making a healthy whole-wheat carrot loaf cake, but Mike vetoed that idea. I have been kind of going off the deep end with whole wheat flour lately, and it’s been at least 5 days since I made anything sweet, so being the understanding and doting wife that I am, I agreed to use white sugar and white flour. It pained me a little as I was mixing this up, but after eating 3 slices, I realized the indulgence was completely worth it.

This cake is soft, moist, lightly orange-flavored, and the glaze brings it all together. I was hesitant about using olive oil in a dessert for the first time, but it definitely worked here. Although the original recipe called for whole milk yogurt, I only had nonfat, so I used half a cup of that and half a cup of sour cream. I’m sure there are modifications you could make to make this healthier, but sometimes it just feels good to throw caution to the wind and eat a little white flour.

(adapted from Bake Fresh, originally from
The Cooking Photographer)

1/2 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (nonfat is fine)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 2 Navel oranges
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tbsp freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease and flour an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the salt, baking powder, and flour with a fork and set aside.

Stir the yogurt, sour cream, eggs, orange zest, olive oil, sugar, and vanilla together until blended. Gently stir in the flour mixture, until all traces of flour disappear.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. (It may look like it’s going to overflow, but it shouldn’t).

When the cake is done, cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edges and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When the cake is cool, mix the orange juice and powdered sugar, and pour evenly over the cake. Slice once the glaze has set.

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