Orange and almonds are a great pairing in this Mediterranean-style cake, which uses extra virgin olive oil instead of butter (photos #1, #2 and #3 © Discover California Wines).
 Check out different wine and cake pairings in this article.
 To share this cake with guests, offer coffee and tea in addition to a dessert wine. And don’t forget: Some people might like a glass of milk!
 The rosy flesh of blood oranges will make a more beautiful garnish (photo © Gelson’s Markets).
 Instead of the rosiness of blood oranges, cara cara oranges have pink flesh (photo © Good Eggs).
 Most California Muscats are sweet, although around the world, the wine produced may be dry, medium, sparkling, a sweet dessert wine. Quady Essencia is a full-bodied sweet wine made with Orange Muscat grapes (photo © Quady Winery).
What to bake on February 16th, National Almond Day? How about this divine Toasted Almond, Orange, and Olive Oil Cake recipe, which uses heart-healthy EVOO instead of butter, and is scented with orange zest.
This easy but impressive toasted almond cake captures three of California’s favorite flavors: navel oranges, olive oil, and almonds.
February is not only the height of California’s citrus season, it’s also when the state’s olive oil producers release their fresh, fruity extra virgin olive oil from last fall’s harvest.
As for almonds, they’re the official state nut*.
For a bigger celebration, we’re adding a California Muscat (California Late Harvest wine is equally delish).
> The history of almonds.
> The history of cake.
> Pairing wine and cake.
> The different types of cake.
RECIPE: TOASTED ALMOND, ORANGE & OLIVE OIL CAKE
For the orange garnish, consider one of the showier varieties: rosy blood oranges, or pink-fleshed Cara Cara oranges. But even a standard navel orange will look good atop the cake.
You can change the fruit garnish seasonally.
In the spring, swap the citrus for strawberries.
In summer, cherries, blackberries, and peaches.
In autumn, pears.
This cake loves fruit of any kind, and a little whipped cream never hurts—or a dab of crème fraîche or mascarpone. You’ll want to keep it in your dessert repertoire year-round.
Enjoy it with a California dessert wine.
1/3 cup (50 g) raw almonds
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (140 g) sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) whole-milk yogurt
½ cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (packed) grated orange zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Garnish: 3 tablespoons (20 g) sliced almonds
Garnish: 2-3 oranges, sliced
Optional for serving: whipped cream
Ingredients For A 9-Inch (23-cm) Cake
1. COAT the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan with vegetable spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Dust the sides with flour, shaking out the excess.
2. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F (175°C). Toast the raw almonds on a baking sheet until fragrant and lightly colored inside, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.
3. GRIND the toasted almonds in a food processor, along with 1 tablespoon of the sifted flour, until fine. Transfer to a bowl and whisk together the ground almonds, the remaining flour, the baking powder, and salt.
4. WHISK the eggs in a large bowl until well blended. Add the sugar gradually and whisk vigorously until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the yogurt, olive oil, orange zest, and extracts. When well blended, add the dry ingredients. Whisk just until blended; do not overmix (it makes the cake tough).
5. POUR the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top. Bake until the cake feels firm on top and just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes.
6. COOL the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto another rack and remove the pan and parchment paper. Invert again onto the first rack to finish cooling. Garnish with orange slices.
A glass of sweet wine, with or without a piece of fresh fruit, is often served as dessert in Europe.
You can also serve it with cookies: Follow the Italian tradition of serving Vin Santo, a dessert wine from the Tuscany region of Italy, with biscotti and other cookies (shortbread works nicely).
California produces a range of sweet wines that complement a nutty cake.
Late-harvest white wines often made with Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, or a blend of the two, have honeyed aromas and a luscious, silky texture.
Dessert wines from the Muscat grape are more floral and highly scented; Orange Muscat, with its aromas of orange blossom and peach, is an uncommon treat.
Bubbly: Look for a California sparkling wine in an extra dry or demi-sec style. Despite the names, both styles are actually a touch sweet and perfect with an unfrosted cake.
You can even have the cake with ice cream. Here’s how to pair ice cream with dessert wine.
> Pairing wine and chocolate.
> Wine and dessert pairings.
> Pairing wine and cake (second article).
> Pairing wine and popcorn.
*To be perfectly accurate, California has designated four official state nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans.
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