Photograph by Martyn Thompson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Orange Anise Sand Jar Cake

Desserts from Issue 5 – Spring / Summer 2014 – Caravan

We took a nostalgic cue from rainbow sand art jars for our anise-laced cake, merging desert-born colors into its undulating bands. The result? A psychedelic swirl of teal, red, brown, and ochre.

serves 10 to 12

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ¼ cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups mild olive oil
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated orange zest (from about 2 large oranges)
  • 1 Tbsp anise extract
  • gel paste food colors (we mixed blues, reds, brown, and yellow to create teal, beet red, and ochre.)

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch cake pan, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper.

  • 2

    Whisk together flour, granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, and soda.

  • 3

    In a larger bowl, whisk brown sugar and eggs until smooth, then stir in milk, oil, juice, zest, and extract. Stir dry ingredients into wet ones until just combined.

  • 4

    Divide between bowls depending on the colors you’re using and color the batters. (We used teal, beet red, brown, and ochre.) Avoid over-stirring the batters.

  • 5

    Spoon 2 Tbsp batter into the center of lined pan. Then take a different color and spoon 2 Tbsp over the first like a bull’s-eye. Keep going, alternating colors as you choose, spooning into center until you’ve used all batter.

  • 6

    Bake until cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 30 minutes in the pan and then invert the cake onto a plate, remove parchment, and invert cake right-side up onto a rack to cool completely.