I'm a butter person; a world without butter would be a very dreary place. But my family loves coffee cake for breakfast, and one day it hit me that the butter and sour cream cake I routinely baked for them was a remarkably rich way to start the day. So I decided to come up with a cake that was both light and satisfying.I began with oranges and then added eggs. Instead of butter I used grapeseed oil, which I love for its neutral flavor. You could also use a fruity olive oil, which will give you a cake with a vaguely Spanish accent. I think of this as orange juice and eggs rolled into a single dish and puffed up with hot air. I think it’s a perfect way to start the day.What I like most is its sheer simplicity; this cake is about as basic—and easy— as they come. But one word of warning: don't open the oven too early. This cake will fall if provoked.

Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl

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Credit: Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary

active:
15 mins
total:
55 mins
Yield:
10
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a tube or Bundt pan.

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  • Gently zest the oranges (about 2 tablespoons). Squeeze 1 orange—or more if you've got stingy oranges—to equal 1/2 cup juice.

  • Beat eggs and sugar in a stand mixer on medium-high speed until mixture is fluffy and thick, about 5 minutes. Slowly beat in oil. Sprinkle in orange zest. Leave mixer running.

  • Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients. Gently stir in vanilla and 1/2 cup orange juice until batter is smooth.

  • Pour batter into prepared cake pan; bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

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