Happy Birthday, Sweet Athena!

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This April marks an exciting moment in Sweet Athena history, it is the two year anniversary of our blog! To celebrate all the food and craft adventures Linz and I have experienced here, we decided to get together and follow our current season of food and bake. This turned into a true Sweet Athena project with us getting together one week night to create something and instead just going out to dinner and chatting. Our second attempt was much more successful on the creating front, but also lead to an impromptu sleepover, as we stayed up late talking. It was the perfect reminder why we have the blog in the first place; a good excuse for two friends to get together and create something.  ~Jess

To celebrate our birthday, of course we had to make a birthday cake. In true Jess & Linz fashion, we also had to make a themed cake: one that is both sweet and related to the Greek goddess, Athena. Thus, we opted to make Giada’s Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake; after all, the olive tree is one of Athena’s symbols. This cake is quite different from your typical birthday cake, but is delicious nonetheless. The olive oil blends surprisingly well with the sugar and citrus. The cake is not super-sweet and made Jess think back to the cakes her French host mom would make. Yum!  ~Linz

Giada De Laurentiis’ Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled
  • Powdered sugar, for sifting


Citrus Compote Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange blossom water, optional
  • 3 oranges, segmented
  • 2 pink grapefruits, segmented


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8-inch-diameter cake pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the milk. Gradually beat in the oil. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the almonds. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Place cake pan on baking pan to collect any possible spills. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake and place on serving platter, top side up. Sift powdered sugar over the cake.

To make the citrus compote: Stir the orange peel, blossom water, and 2 tablespoons of accumulated juices from the segmented fruit in a small bowl to blend. Arrange the orange and grapefruit segments decoratively in a wide shallow bowl. Pour the blossom water mixture over. Cover and let stand 15 minutes for the flavors to blend. Cut the cake into wedges and spoon the citrus compote alongside.


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