Several years ago I found a recipe for an Italian olive oil cake that became a regular dessert in our house. It was a simple recipe that started with eggs, sugar, flour, orange juice and olive oil and ended as a dense, moist flavorful cake. I used to serve it topped with whatever berries were in season.
Right now, at last, the strawberries are in season here (after a very long cool, wet spring) and I wanted to make another cake that would highlight the incredible taste of these little juicy berries. So I searched for, and found, another olive oil cake recipe.
This one, from the same Rustic Fruit Desserts cookbook I wrote about here, is much lighter than the cake I used to make, but at least as good. Instead of using orange juice, this recipe calls for the zest of a lemon, an orange and a grapefruit, and the only juice you add is in the glaze.
The cake is light and fresh tasting, and a perfect match for fresh berries, slightly macerated with lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar.
Olive Oil Citrus Cake
(from Rustic Fruit Desserts)
1 ¼ cup unsifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon plus ¾ cup granulated sugar
zest of: 1 grapefruit, 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a paper towel, coat a 9-inch by 2-inch round baking pan with olive oil, then sprinkle it with about 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together TWICE.
Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and zests on high speed for about 5 minutes, until the eggs are thickened and lighter in color.
Add the vanilla. Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed and drizzle the olive oil into the batter, pouring slowly along the edge of the bowl.
Add the flour and mix on low speed until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and slightly domed in the center. Cool to room temperature.
¾ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons fresh citrus juice (I used orange, the original recipe called for grapefruit)
Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a small bowl. Add the juice and whisk to combine. Pour over the cooled cake.
This cake will keep, well-wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 2-3 days.