Yes, you read that right, olive oil in a cake. Olive oil has been making appearances all over the dessert world for awhile. In the right uses, and the right varieties, it can be delicious. This was one of the first dessert recipes I ever made using olive oil, and I fell in love right away. It is a light, delicate cake, with a faint taste of lemon. My favorite thing about this cake is that you can eat it for breakfast. That’s right, this is a breakfast dessert cake, the only other cake I know of that can successfully toe that line is angel food cake- which I also love. This is a moist fluffy, almost good for you cake (look at the ingredients!) that can be eaten any time of the day or night.
I would recommend using a lighter olive oil instead of extra virgin in this recipe, I have used both and I find the flavor with the lighter olive oil to be more pleasant. To be honest I have no idea where I originally found this recipe, it’s all over the internet today, but for sake of fairness I’m going to credit Epicurious.
¾ cup olive oil, 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
¾ plus 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Grease springform pan with oil and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, lightly oil the top of parchment as well.
Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 ½ teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve, then squeeze the lemon and reserve 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Beat together yolks and ½ cup sugar in standing mixer fit with a whisk attachment at medium high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil and reserved lemon juice. Mix until combined (it will appear separated, this is normal). Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with ½ tsp salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium high speed until foamy, then add ¼ cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
Fold 1/3 of the whites into the 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 ½ Tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden skewer comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.
A few notes:
I have made this cake with lavender sugar and it was lovely. You can also sub raw or turbinado sugar on the top for a bit of a crunchy texture.
I served this with lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with a touch of orange blossom water, and blackberries.
You could serve this with pretty much any fruit, any flavor whipped cream, or just all by itself. It’s even good with a cup of coffee.