Saturday, February 11
As a child, I was obsessed with olives (and lemons, but that ship has already sailed). Left on my own, I would have spent my days in the sea, living solely on lemons, oranges, honey and olives. The first time I heard the term "olive oil," was in one of my all-time favourite movies, Popeye. Shelley Duvall played Olive Oyl, and when I was little, I thought it was the coolest name, ever. (Shelley also hosted Faerie Tale Theater, which thanks to an already overactive imagination, procured a short-lived fear of apples, mushroom circles, and Mick Jagger.)
Today, I'm still irrevocably in love with lemons and water, but I prefer olives in oil form. It was only a matter of time before I made a dessert that combined the two. This cake is sumptuous! It's unbelievably moist, temptingly tart, and has a the light lingering floral essence of olive oil.
If you're looking for an unusual Valentine's Day dessert, skip the red velvet and try this light, perky cake instead!
Lemon Olive Oil Cake (adapted from Epicurious)
1 cup cake flour
5 eggs, separated (you will only need 4 eggs whites, so save one for another use)
3/4 cup olive oil (I used extra-virgin)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and then grease the paper.
Into a medium-size bowl, finely grate both lemons. Add the flour and whisk together. Set the bowl aside.
Juice both lemons (you should have at least 2 Tablespoons). Set the juice aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar on high speed for about 3 minutes (or until pale and thick).
Reduce the speed to medium, add the olive oil and lemon juice and beat until just combined. Don't worry if curdles a bit.
Use a large wooden spoon to stir in the flour/zest mixture until just combined. (Try not to over-mix).
In a separate large, clean bowl, beat the 4 egg whites and salt together until foamy.
While continually beating on medium-high speed, gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue beating until soft peaks are just starting to form (about 3 minutes).
Use a large rubber spatula to gently fold the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture. Use a light hand, and don't over-mix the batters.
Pour the batter into prepared pan and gently rap against the counter to release any air pockets. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the cake's center comes out clean. (The cake should be light golden.)
Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before releasing it from the pan.
Cool to room temperature before inverting it and removing the parchment paper.
Turn it right-side up, and transfer it to a serving plate.
Garnish as desired.
lemon glaze (optional, but delicious)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
Combine the sugar and juice together in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thin, add more sugar. If it's too thick, add a splash of lemon juice.
Drizzle over the cool cake, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides.