Olive oil keeps this fine-crumbed cake fresh and moist even after it sits out for days. Its flavor — cocoa and orange blossom, amplified and echoed by urfa, a spice with the aroma of chocolate and citrus — is as complex as it is instantly agreeable. And anyone intimidated by baking will appreciate this no-fail batter that’s mixed by hand.
3 hours, largely unattended. Serves 10 to 12.
• ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon urfa pepper
• Nonstick pan spray, oil or butter, for the pan
• 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1½ teaspoons baking powder
• 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• ⅔ cup whole milk
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
• 1 orange
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 3 to 6 tablespoons whole milk
1. To make the spice blend: Stir together the cocoa, cinnamon and urfa. Reserve one-third of the mix (¼ cup) for the glaze.
2. To make the cake: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a small (10-cup) Bundt pan. Set the pan in a roasting pan in case any batter spills over (it shouldn’t) and to prevent the cake bottom from browning too much.
3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining spice blend until well mixed. In another bowl, combine the oil, milk, eggs and orange blossom water. Using a microplane grater, zest the orange directly into the bowl. Halve the orange, squeeze ¼ cup of juice (57 grams), and add to the bowl with the liquids. Whisk until smooth.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Start whisking slowly from the center of the bowl, gradually drawing in the dry ingredients to prevent them from clumping. Once all the dry ingredients are incorporated, whisk just until smooth. The thick batter should drip off the whisk. Pour into the prepared bundt pan.
5. Bake, rotating the pan 180 degrees once halfway through, until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
6. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Unmold and cool completely on the rack.
7. To make the glaze: Mix the reserved spice blend with the powdered sugar. Add 3 tablespoons milk to make a thick glaze, adding up to 3 more tablespoons if necessary. Pour the glaze over the cooled unmolded cake and set aside until the glaze sets up, about 45 minutes.
The glazed cake can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Excerpted from Mastering Spice by Lior Lev Servarz and Genevieve Ko.