Easy Food for Hungry People (Or, being a “good” host)

11 Dec

I don’t really need to point out that it’s officially the holiday season. This year they’re kind of in a big jumble together. I’ve been anxious for my Christmas “vacation” ever since my 4-day Thanksgiving weekend!

I’ve also been stuffed full since then. But, there’s so much more eating and entertaining ahead of us.
Look – I made these!

Gingerbread Marshmallows

Gingerbread Marshmallows

Holidays in our family mean lots of pop-in visitors – usually one of my mom’s sisters – just dropping by to chat and drink coffee ( or cocktails, depending on the time of day!) Having “unexpected” guests can be frustrating for the unprepared, pajama-clad hosts who didn’t have time to really rustle anything up to feed their visitors.

At least, that’s what happens at my mom and dad’s house. Everyone ends up grazing and picking through the cupboards and refrigerator. Leftover turkey here, some christmas cookies there…not the best strategy for either party. Even if you’re a twenty-something living on your own, I can guarantee people are either coming over or you’re being the guest yourself. Either way, you’re gonna need something to offer. That’s where this cake comes in!

It’s simple, strait forward, lightly sweetened and pretty difficult to mess up. It utilizes the produce star of winter – citrus – and makes use of holiday flavors without being obvious. It could be a breakfast treat or an afternoon snack. Regardless if you’re the host or the guest, this is a great cake to have around.

What do you like to have on hand for guests? Do you bring a “hostess gift” when you go holiday visiting?

Orange Cardamom Olive Oil Cake 
(inspired by this recipe)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of one orange (about  1 tablespoon) A few tablespoons orange juice (I squeezed half an orange into the batter)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon  cardamom

Set oven to 350 degrees and grease a round cake pan (I used a 9 inch). Beat eggs and sugar together until thick and fluffy, about 2 minutes on high. Stream in olive oil while mixer is on (medium) until oil is incorporated. Mix in vanilla and orange zest, along with the orange juice. Whisk all your dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, and with the mixer on, slowly incorporate into wet ingredients until uniform. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from middle.

Let cake cool in pan for a few minutes before turning out on wire rack to cool completely. While cake is cooling, make the glaze

  • 1 to 1 ½ c. powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1  teaspoon orange zest
  • 4-5 tablespoons fresh orange juice (I squeezed in the other half of the orange, but you might need a bit more. you can always thin out a little water.)
    Mix all ingredients together, until glaze is thick enough to coat your spoon. Wait until cake is cool before pouring glaze on top of cake. This can be very messy, so I usually slide some parchment paper under the edges of the cake to catch drips. Let glaze dry and harden before slicing. Garnish with some leftover orange slices, if that suits your fancy.
  • {I actually did almost totally screw up this cake. I put it in the oven, looked up and saw the cup full of olive oil I never actually put in the batter, and had a bit of a panicked moment. So, your cake will probably turn out better than mine if you actually follow the directions…}

5 Responses to “Easy Food for Hungry People (Or, being a “good” host)”

  1. dharmamonet December 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Wow!!! I can’t wait to try and make this ASAP!

  2. dharmamonet December 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    This year, my mom sister and I got together and prepared a bunch of different types of cookie dough that we divided and can freeze or whatever for the month. We did a pecan butter cookie, cranberry lemon, and cherry almond pistachio. Plus for the evening we made a cashew spice bar. i love the holidays. Haven’t even delved into the cookie dough yet, and believe it or not, the spice bars are still just barely around and it’s been since Saturday!

  3. Sarah December 12, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    looks delicious! When last minute guests come over I like to make an antipasto platter with cheese, olives, cold cuts, crackers, fruit, bread and whatever else is laying around

    • jenny@relishandreverie December 12, 2013 at 4:05 am #

      Sarah, I miss your snacks pulled from whatever we had in the fridge. that’s your thing, i think.

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