This might be one of my favorite baking experiences ever... but first I have to give a little background:) It all dates back to my first summer living off-campus in St. Paul. We lived on one of the main streets running from the Mississppi River to downtown St. Paul- Grand Avenue, the best street actually ;). There were restaurants, coffee shops, clothing stores, a cooking store with cooking classes, a yoga studio... you name it. Every June, a huge festival called Grand Old Day is held on Grand Avenue to kick off summer. Although we'd lived in the house for a year already, the summer between our junior and senior years at Macalester was the first time all of us were planning on spending our summer in the Twin Cities. So, naturally, we had to make it the best summer ever! And what better way to start things off than with a bake sale at Grand Old Day?! How we thought of that idea.. don't ask me. Bake sales are for kids, right? I think we just wanted an excuse to bake a ton of sweet treats. But it turned out to be so much fun because we spent the whole preceding day baking together, used our kindergarten crayon skills to make a few signs the morning of, moved the living room futon out into the front yard, and drank cold-pressed coffee while we watched the thousands of people walk by our house throughout the day. Rather than listing prices for the treats, we advertised as "by donation" just so we could recuperate the cost of ingredients (butter is expensive these days!). We laughed later though because we definitely would have collected less money had we listed prices- apparently people are more generous when you list as by donation! Even when knowing that we weren't fundraising for a particular cause, people would give us $5 for a cookie that probably cost us fifty cents to make! So, in addition to having fun baking a bunch of sweet treats, we also ended up having enough donations to fund other summer adventures! We each made one sweet treat, and this just happens to be the one I made:)

grand old day orange, almond, and olive oil cake

1 small to medium orange
1 lemon
6 ounces raw almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cup olive oil
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

Put the orange and lemon in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and cool. Meanwhile, toast the almonds. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and set a rack in the middle position. Put the almonds on an ungreased sheet pan, and bake until they look golden and smell warm and toasty, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. When the almonds are cool, pulse them in a food processor until finely ground, the texture of coarse sand. Set aside. Set the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch springform (or bundt) pan. When the citrus is cool, cut the lemon in half and scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds. Cut the orange in half and discard the seeds. Put the lemon rind and orange halves in the food processor and process to a coarse paste. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Combine the eggs and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Fold in the flour mixture. Add the citrus, almonds, and olive oil, and fold until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack. Remove the sides of the pan. Before serving, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

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