This cake...celebrates week-day baking as well as summer in one go. While I do really love a properly made poundcake, I have to admit that I rarely make them. To be honest, I shy away from recipes that call for "creaming butter wtih sugar" most days since I typically forget to take the butter from the fridge. Enter: flavorful oils. Oils and fats are my favorite macronutrient, for their chemical, physical and sensory properties...and the cake below shows how powerful different states and flavors of fats can be! Sometimes easy or more approachable methods allow for more creativity. Not everything creative needs to be complicated, and as an over-thinking being, I tend to correlate "complicated" with "creative" or "worthiness". Not the case, thank goodness. This cake is a gentle reminder. It is flexible, easy to make, and so gratifying in the end. Taking the crispy golden domed cake from the oven on a Monday night, ready to share for the rest of the week, is a perfect. Share it with family (we took it as a birthday treat for my step-dad, along with whipped cream and strawberries), co-workers, or weekday friends that stop-by. Or just enjoy it, small slices carved away from the cake, with your coffee or tea. Any way, it is fine and good!
Loosely adapted from a recipe I found on Food52, this is a perfect template to play around with different flours and flavors. I added 1/3 cup of stone-ground cornmeal, since I love lemon and corn together, but next time, I'll try a finer corn flour. The result was flavorful, with a punch of lemon, and got better each day after sitting in the fridge. Dense, moist, yet tender...perfect with morning coffee, or as dessert with macerated fruits (or some sauteed cherries!) and whipped cream. Cut the whole thing in half, smear with strawberry jam or your favorite preserves, some whipped cream fortified with mascarpone for some heft to hold the weight of the top slice, and more berries. A simple swoosh of tangy and thick greek yogurt on top also is a good idea.
Olive Oil Cake (variation: with cornmeal, lemon and bourbon) // makes one 9" cake //
- 2 cups (250g) all purpose flour (use scant if adding cornmeal below)
- 6 TB stone-ground cornmeal (Bob's Red Mill is reliable)
- 1 ¾ cups (350g) sugar
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ⅓ cups (285g) extra virgin olive oil (or, use half unsalted butter, melted)
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk or water, or a combination
- 3 large eggs
- zest of 1 lemon or desired citrus (use more for more flavor, less for less)
- ¼ cup (60g) fresh lemon or citrus juice (about ½ lemon, squeezed)
- ¼ cup or splash of liquor of choice (I used Bulleit bourbon infused with vanilla beans)
- Pre-heat oven to 350F. Prepare baking tin by lightly greasing it, and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
Sift all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix all wet ingredients in a medium bowl or in a large measuring jug (so you can measure as you add ingredients). Add wet mixture to dry, and mix until combined. Batter will be thin, so do not panic.
Bake for 45-60 minutes until deep golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Time will vary depending on your oven.
Cool slightly before removing from tin, then enjoy. Great straight from fridge plain, or topped with macerated fruits and whipped cream or greek yogurt.