Italians think everything tastes better when made with olive oil. After spending the last three weeks eating and drinking our way through central and northern Italy, you’ll have no arguments from us.
We tasted olive oil right along with fine wines when touring wineries and passed it nightly at the dinner table. We paid as much for a great bottle of olive oil as we would a great bottle of wine. Suffice it to say, they’re as passionate about growing olives as they are wine grapes.
As Rich mentioned in an earlier post, we have an adopted olive tree in Italy. We recently received our first shipment of 1.5 liters of extra virgin olive oil. I really wanted to make something typical of the Italian cuisine that I’ve been gorging on lately and came up with a cake that really fit the bill. I was even able to work in some of the Meyer lemons that I’ve been trying to use up. The oil produces a moist cake and the lemon gives it a nice tang that isn’t tart. If you use extra virgin olive oil, you’ll get an even fuller fruit flavor in the finished cake.
Try eating this cake with fresh berries (such as raspberries or strawberries) and whipped cream or vanilla yogurt. Or serve it warm with vanilla ice cream and toasted pignoli (pine nuts) or pistachio nuts for a nice crunch. Any way you choose, you’ll be singing ‘O Sole Mio before you know it!
WI wine recommendation: Prosecco or Champagne pairs well with this recipe.
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
3/4 cup olive oil (regular or extra virgin)
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
5 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier liquor
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Adjust the rack to middle position. Grease a 9 inch springform cake pan with olive oil, line the base with parchment paper and grease it with oil.
Whisk the lemon zest together with flour. In another bowl, beat the yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar with an electric mixer (at high speed) until the mixture is pale and thick (about 2-3 minutes). Reduce speed to medium and gradually pour in all of the olive oil, lemon juice, and Grand Marnier. Don’t be alarmed if mixture appears curdled at this stage. Lightly fold in the flour mixture until just combined.
Wash the beaters thoroughly. Put the egg whites and salt into a clean bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the egg whites hold soft peaks. Carefully fold about a third of the whipped whites into the yolk mixture, then add the remainder of the whites and continue folding until just combined.
Pour the batter into the springform pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top of the batter. Bake for about 30-35 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). If top starts turning brown too quickly, cover with foil. The top should be golden brown and will probably be crackly-looking when finished.
Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove outer rim of the pan to allow the cake to cool completely to room temperature. Remove the pan base and carefully peel away the parchment paper.
July 21, 2008 at 1:23 pm
Jeremy Parzen said:
What a great blog! I love the recipes, the humor, the readability, and getting to live vicariously through this window into your enogastronomic lives.