Meskouta (Moroccan Orange Cake)

Ingredients

  • ½

    cup plus 2 tablespoons/150 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil, more for greasing the pan

  • 2

    cups/260 grams all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½

    teaspoons baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon baking soda

  • 1

    teaspoon fine salt

  • ¾

    cup plus 2 tablespoons/180 grams granulated sugar

  • 2

    large eggs

  • ¾

    cup plus 2 tablespoons/180 grams Greek-style yogurt

  • Zest of 2 oranges (about 2 tablespoons)

  • cup/80 milliliters fresh orange juice (from about 1 orange)

  • 1

    teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan with olive oil, and line it with a sheet of parchment paper so that you have extra on the sides. (You’ll use this to lift the loaf out of the pan.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. In another large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and eggs until well combined. Add the yogurt, olive oil, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla extract to the sugar and egg mixture, and whisk until well incorporated.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix using a spatula until you no longer see flecks of flour, making sure not to overmix. (The batter will be slightly lumpy.) Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and use a spatula to spread into an even layer.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some small, moist crumbs. (If the cake needs another minute or two, but is becoming too brown, tent with foil.) Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before using the parchment overhang to remove from the pan.
  5. Make the optional whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the cream and the confectioners’ sugar for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high until medium peaks begin to form. You want a spreading consistency. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to serve the cake.
  6. To serve, cut the cake in slices, top with whipped cream, if using, and garnish with chocolate shavings, if using. Alternatively, you can also top the whole cake with whipped cream, then slice it. Without the whipped cream, the cake keeps for up to 5 days in an airtight container on the counter.