Saturday, October 15, 2011

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Having been to my share of olive oil tastings, I have come to appreciate the varying flavor characteristics of different extra-virgin olive oils, which can be as complex as the nuances in fine wines. They can range from peppery to pungent, or from bitter to fruity. 

Like wine, they can also be described as floral, grassy, rich, delicate, buttery, vegetal, or nutty. Choosing the right extra-virgin olive oil for a particular use is very important, especially when using it in a cake. To showcase one of my favorite olive oils, I decided to make a 

Citrus Olive Oil Cake, which uses 1½ cups of extra-virgin olive oil. I used a grassy, fresh-flavored oil, Galiga E Vetrice from O & Co, in my cake, which pairs well with citrus, but you may prefer a more fruity or floral oil, depending on your taste preference. The cake is 

very moist and subtly flavored, with a citrus endnote. The olive oil flavor in the finished cake is soft and buttery, not heavy-handed. The recipe was adapted from Team USA’s plated dessert entry at the 2010 World Pastry Competition, and I think it’s just lovely. I hope you do, too.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake, serving 12

2 cups granulated sugar
Zest of 3 lemons and 2 oranges
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (338 g) Greek yogurt
1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
6 large eggs, lightly whisked together
2 ¾ cups (364 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Citrus Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Pinch of salt

Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust it with flour.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon zest and salt. Add the yogurt, eggs and olive oil and whisk until well blended. Sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder and whisk into the mixture, one-third at a time, just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake the cake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into one of the peaks of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan, set on a wire rack, for 20 minutes.
3. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

Make the glaze:
4. Gently whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.