Dear Roberta: With the onset of winter I find myself nesting and want to do more baking. I recently heard about cakes made with olive oil instead of butter.
I have never made one of these cakes and would be most appreciative if you would give me some insight and possibly a recipe or two for them.
Dear Reader: Olive oil in the batter is the secret to a moist, tender cake with lots of character.
Olive Oil Cake
2 1/2 cups sugar
Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for pan
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Sea salt, for garnish
Trim about 1/2 inch from the tops and bottoms of oranges; quarter oranges lengthwise. Bring six cups water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan; add oranges. Bring water back to a boil; drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh water.
Put oranges, 1 cup sugar, and 4 cups water into a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and orange rind can be easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 10 inch round cake pan with butter and dust with flour; line pan bottom with parchment paper cut to fit. Set pan aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. Remove orange quarters from syrup, remove and discard any seeds, and put oranges into the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse until oranges form a chunky purée, 10 to 12 pulses. Add remaining sugar, reserved flour mixture, vanilla, and eggs and process until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add olive oil; process until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk orange juice and confectioners’ sugar to make a thin glaze. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a cake stand or plate. Using a pastry brush, brush orange glaze over top and sides of cake; let cool completely. Garnish cake with salt
Lemon Olive Oil Cake
3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
1 large lemon
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Special equipment: a 9-inch (24-cm) springform pan; parchment paper
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.
Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.
Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate
Tess’ resident chef Roberta DesBouillons will offer a demo of the Olive Oil Cake during Tess’ Kitchen Store Holiday Open House Nov. 9. For more information, visit http://tesskitchenstore.com/.