I’m a big fan of olive oil. Extra-virgin, of course. It’s my go-to for roasting vegetables, the first thing I reach for when sauteing onions, and the natural base for homemade salad dressings. I even add it to my soap (it’s a moisturizer!). So here is my ode to olive oil, in the form of a cake. Paired with lemon and rosemary, two among many flavors that sing alongside its fruitiness, the olive oil somehow yields a cake richer than if it had been made with butter. This cake is similar to a sponge cake, fluffed up with beaten egg whites and topped with turbinado sugar, and although I found it deflated after leaving the oven, the texture still seemed spot on to me. I intended to try a couple slices with fresh fruit and whipped cream, but to be honest, it was gone before I had a chance and tasted just perfect as is.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake (adapted from Epicurious)
Yield: 1 8″x4″ loaf pan or 9″ cake pan
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest*
- 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil**
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice*
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
*This should be all the zest and juice from 1 lemon.
**Doesn’t need to be the fancy stuff (save that for salads!), but do make sure it’s extra-virgin.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Oil a 8″x4″ loaf pan or 9″ springform or cake pan, then line bottom with parchment, and oil the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup cake flour, 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest, and 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, then set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or using an electric mixer, beat together 5 egg yolks and 1/2 cup granulated sugar on high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce speed to medium, and add 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 2 Tbsp lemon juice, beating until just combined (the mixture may appear separated).
- Stir in the flour mixture by hand until just combined, then set aside.
- In a clean bowl, using a thoroughly cleaned whisk attachment or electric mixer, beat 4 egg whites and 1/2 tsp salt on medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup granulated sugar a little at a time, beating, until the egg whites hold soft peaks, about 5 minutes.
- Gently fold one third of the whites into the yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and gently rap against the work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles.
- Sprinkle the top evenly with 1 1/2 Tbsp turbinado sugar.
- Bake until puffed and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 – 35 minutes.
- Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to release from the side (and remove the side if using a springform pan).
- Continue to cool to room temperature, about an hour, then remove from the pan, and serve.