This recipe is adapted from Evan Mallett’s book “Black Trumpet: A Chef’s Journey Through Eight New England Seasons” (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2016) and is printed with permission from the publisher.

Makes one (8-inch) cake. Serves 12.

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 3 or 4 oranges)

2 1/2 cups sugar, divided

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/4 cup brandy

1 1/2 cups olive oil

Zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons ground anise seed
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan.

Combine the orange juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a small pan over medium heat and simmer until the sugar dissolves.

Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a medium bowl and set aside.

Whip the eggs in a stand mixer (using the whisk attachment) on medium speed for 1 minute. Slowly add the remaining 2 cups sugar and whip on medium speed until dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Pour 1/4 cup of the cooled orange syrup, along with the milk, brandy and olive oil, into the egg-and-sugar mixture; whip on low speed until incorporated. Add the zest, anise seed and salt, and mix just until combined. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the batter, mixing just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake on the middle shelf for about 11/4 hours, until the cake is dark golden brown, it’s set in the middle, and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cake cool to room temperature and brush with the remaining orange syrup before slicing into 12 pieces. Serve with Prune Jam and Whipped Ricotta (both recipes follow).

TO SERVE THE CAKE:  Place a slice of cake on a dessert plate. Dollop some Whipped Ricotta on top, sprinkle with chocolate shavings, and serve with a spoonful of Prune Jam. Repeat with the remaining slices.


Mallett says the recipe was tested with plums dehydrated in-house, but that store-bought prunes will work.

Makes 12 portions

8 prunes

4 dates, pitted

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup red wine

2 tablespoons apple brandy

2 tablespoons honey

Zest of 1/4 orange

Combine all the ingredients in a small, heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool in the pan. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times, stopping often to scrape down the bottom and sides. Continue pulsing until the ingredients are fully incorporated and smooth.


Makes a little more than a pint.

2 cups whole-milk ricotta

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the cheese on low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until combined.

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