A heady mixture of olive oil and preserved oranges flavors this moist, dense Sicilian dessert. The recipe is based on one in The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark (W. W. Norton, 2010).
2⅓ cups sugar
Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
2½ cups flour, plus more for pan
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup confectioners' sugar
Sea salt, for garnish
1. Trim about ½" from the tops and bottoms of oranges; quarter oranges lengthwise. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; add oranges. Bring water back to a boil; drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh water. Put oranges, 1 cup sugar, and 4 cups water into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and orange rind can be easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature.
2. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 10" round cake pan with butter and dust with flour; line pan bottom with parchment paper cut to fit. Set pan aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. Remove orange quarters from syrup, remove and discard any seeds, and put oranges into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until oranges form a chunky purée, 10 to 12 pulses. Add remaining sugar, reserved flour mixture, vanilla, and eggs and process until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add olive oil; process until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, whisk orange juice and confectioners' sugar to make a thin glaze. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a cake stand or plate. Using a pastry brush, brush orange glaze over top and sides of cake; let cool completely. Garnish cake with salt.