Lately, 3 year old Mack says he wants to be a chef when he grows up. I can’t say I’m surprised. He really does enjoy helping out in the kitchen, especially in the afternoons when Vivian naps and Evie is at school. He and I will do most (if not all!) of the prep work for dinner, and his help – and companionship! – is very much appreciated. Sometimes I modify how I am preparing a dish based on his level of enthusiasm. For example, if he wants to crack the eggs, I’ll let him do it in a separate bowl so we don’t have any sneaky egg shells! It is an easy way for him to practice what he loves to do!
Yesterday Mack and I made a simple cake for an afternoon snack. I found a recipe for a Mandarin Olive Oil Cake in the latest issue of Real Simple, and it looked so tasty and delightful. Mack and I adjusted the recipe a little based on what we had around the kitchen, and the results were fantastic. Evie was so happy to come home to a warm snack on a cold winter afternoon!
Clementine Olive Oil Cake
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pan
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch fine salt
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (Mack and I used 3 tablespoons of very heavy cream from our co-op – yum!)
1 tablespoon finely grated mandarin zest, plus 6 tablespoons mandarin juice (Mack and I used clementines with great results)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Heat oven to 350° F. Brush an 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan with oil and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, butter, vanilla, mandarin zest, and 4 tablespoons of the mandarin juice; set aside.
Beat the granulated sugar and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing well between additions. (The batter will be thin.)
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Combine the confectioners’ sugar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of mandarin juice, and the remaining pinch of salt in a small bowl; whisk until smooth (adding up to 1 teaspoon water if needed to loosen). Drizzle over the cooled cake. Let set before serving.
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