Last week, while walking to New Seasons with my other half, I announced my plan to make an olive oil cake. “Why?” he protested. For fun, because a lemon winked at me earlier, and why not? It’s cake, and cake consumption doesn’t always need to be justified. He wasn’t convinced, but wasn’t going to stand in my way. By now, he knows better.
Fast forward two minutes. New Seasons is having a tasting, and on the menu– almond olive oil cake. As though I planned it.
A bite in, and I hear a hearty “yuuum.” Can you tell where this is going?
Another two minutes and three samples later, my olive oil cake idea is brought up. But this time, it’s heavily supported and encouraged. Though it was tasty, the almond cake had anise in it, which I try to avoid as much as possible. It reminds me of O-chem lab and the day I spent too much time in front of a distillation column making my own anise extract. I’ve since repressed the memory of the licorice-like stench and the grade that came with it.
Lemon it was.
Moist, dense and fluffy inside; crunchy and imperfect on the outside. Delightful alone; magical alongside a Moscato. Like my 4.0 GPA, this cake didn’t last long.
Materials (adapted from Gourmet)
1 cup cake flour (or this, in case of emergency)
1 large lemon (zest and juice)
5 egg yolks
4 egg whites
3/4 cups granulated sugar, plus 2 Tbsp for sprinkling
3/4 cup good quality olive oil
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter, place a 9-inch round piece of parchment paper on the bottom and grease the top of the paper. Set aside.
3. Grate an entire lemon, add the zest to the flour and squeeze the juice. Save for a few steps ahead.
4. In a medium bowl, beat yolks and 1/2 cup sugar on high for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and turns pale yellow.
5. Reduce speed, add olive oil and lemon juice and beat only to combine.
6. Gently fold in the flour mixture, and set bowl aside.
7. In another bowl, beat egg whites and salt until foamy (about 30 seconds).
8. Add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, and continue beating until soft peaks form.
9. Gently fold in half of the whites into the yolk mixture until the color lightens, then add the remaining whites and continue to fold in until no streaks remain.
10. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and drop the pan onto a cutting board three times to remove any trapped air bubbles.
11. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar over the top, and place into oven.
12. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and dry.
13. Cool the cake on a rack for 15 minutes, or until you can safely remove the wall of the pan.
14. Allow the cake to further cool at room temperature for about an hour, and then remove the parchment paper from the bottom. Set onto a serving plate, grab a fork and enjoy the Summer party about to hit your taste buds.