Orange Olive Oil Cake with Candied Oranges is light, has a fine crumb, is perfectly moist but not sopping, is beautifully fragrant of oranges, has just a hint of warm cardamom, and is festooned with thin slices of orange lovingly candied in honey and cardamom syrup. Gently adapted from Bon Appetit.
Bring a saucepan of water to a rapid boil and add orange slices. Boil 1 minute then place in the bowl of ice water to shock until cooled. Drain.
In a large skillet over medium heat, bring 1 cup sugar, honey, 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons orange juice, and crushed cardamom pods and seeds just to a boil, and heat until sugar dissolves (stir occasionally).
Turn heat to medium-low and place orange slices in the sugar-water in a single layer.
Simmer gently (do not boil) the orange slices 45-60 minutes or until rinds are slightly translucent, turning every 15 minutes.
Use tongs to transfer the orange slices onto a cooling rack and sprinkle with sugar if you'd like them less sticky. Allow them to cool completely at least 1 hour but up to overnight.
These can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
Strain and reserve the orange syrup for the cake. If you have any leftover syrup, use for another purpose, but discard after 1 month.
Preheat oven to 350°. Brush a round cake pan with olive oil.
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a beater paddle or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup oil in a large bowl for 1 minute. Beat in the egg yolks, then the flour mixture. Beat in the yogurt, zest, and vanilla.
Use a clean, dry bowl and clean, dry whisk attachment or electric mixer to beat the egg whites in until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until they form firm peaks. Fold half of the egg whites into the batter until even, then fold in the second half of the egg whites until just even. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake the cake until it is lofty and a skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
To Prepare the Baked Cake:
Slightly rewarm the reserved orange syrup so it is just hot to the touch.
Pierce the hot cake all over with the skewer you used to test the cake. Slowly drizzle 3/4 of a cup warm syrup all over. When syrup is absorbed, slowly pour 3/4 of a cup more syrup over the cake. Reserve the remaining syrup for serving. Let the cake cool in pan on a wire rack.
Run a flexible spatula around edge of pan to release the cake from the sides. Arrange candied orange slices over. Cut into wedges and serve drizzled with more syrup.