Olive oil in a cake… kind of crazy, right? Well, you use vegetable oil in cakes and baking a lot so maybe not! The difference is that vegetable and canola oil are neutral in flavor so you don’t taste them. Olive oil? You can definitely taste that. That is why when you bake with olive oil you need to mask it with another strong flavor- like orange. Even with the zest of 2 oranges, you can still pick out the olive oil taste in this cake though. But! That’s not a bad thing. Since the flavor is masked and paired with the orange to also complement any citrus notes in the oil, it ends up tasting incredibly delicious. Plus each butter-free bite makes you feel that much less guilty hehe
This recipe comes from my favorite baking duo- the Baked Boys. Their cookbooks are incredible and their recipes never disappoint. One day I might even make it to their little corner of NYC and eat in their Bakery. Oh, to dream….
I am absolutely obligated to tell you though- this recipe requires some egg separating and whipped white folding. Personally, I think it is annoying when recipes call for this. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t make the recipe any less appealing to me, I would just rather not have to take these extra steps. Plus I cringe with the thought of potentially over-mixing something from having to work especially hard to fold in the egg whites. AND then potentially having deflated all the whipped egg whites as well- it’s just upsetting. Usually, it all works out fine, the end result coming out beautiful, but I think I might have over-mixed with this cake. The egg yolk batter has a rather weird consistency from the olive oil. It’s hard to exactly find the words to explain it… it was just a weird kind of thick. Yeaaaah, let’s go with that. Basically, the awkward consistency made it hard to fold the egg whites into. I think it might have attributed a little bit of toughness to my cake. Also, I used a low fat plain yogurt, which I am sure made the texture of the cake a little bit off too.
Despite the minimal issues I had with the batter of this cake, it still came out great. The texture was a tad off from what I explained previously with the mixing and the yogurt, but! It could have been the correct texture with results different from what I am used to because it’s the first time I have baked with olive oil. There is no way for me to know unless I bake it again, but alas, I am off to other baked goods that are beckoning.
I stored this cake in the refrigerator for about 5 days and it kept beautifully! I actually cut it into servings and double wrapped them in plastic wrap to keep it extra moist. It would also freeze like that perfectly (for best results- defrost in the fridge, not the counter). In my opinion the cake was better the next day. It was fluffier the day I baked it, but the flavors blended and became more balanced the days after. I think having a warm, fresh slice made the distinct olive oil taste stand out more because I didn’t notice it nearly as much the next few days. Or maybe I just got used to it… haha Also, the glaze on this cake is completely optional. I just love glazes so I went for it. But honestly I wish that I hadn’t used the glaze. I think it made the orange flavor too strong. However! I don’t like orange as a flavor that much to begin with. So I suggest to only use it if you are an orange fan, but you could always just put a plain glaze on it with just confectionary sugar and milk- no flavoring. I really think the cake would have been great with just a dusting of confectionary sugar though.
I have my Mother-in-law to thank for sharing this recipe. It’s been on my “to do” list for a while now (along with another 100 or so recipes…). She asked if I could make an olive oil cake, so this recipe was brought to the forefront of my baking schedule. It was a great suggestion on her part and I am happy to share it all with you since I highly recommend you try baking with olive oil at least once in your life. It’s truly a delicious and nutritious experiment. And any time anybody has any suggestions or requests for recipes they would like to see on here- shoot me an e-mail! There’s nothing I enjoy more than sharing with you recipes that you want.
If separating/whipping egg whites and folding them into a batter gives you the heeby jeebies like me, then check out this recipe for an olive oil cake that induces less anxiety.
*TIP- I take a note from Dorie Greenspan when I work with any citrus zest and rub it into the sugar with my finger tips before adding it into any batter. It helps to better infuse the oils AND it separates the strands of zest. Far too often has my zest balled up in my batter, leaving it lacking in flavor.*
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- ¾ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- freshly grated zest of 2 oranges
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1½ teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray the inside of a 10″ bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; alternatively, butter it well, dust it with four and knock out the excess flour.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks until they are pale and light; slowly pour in the sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add the yogurt and olive oil and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the orange zest and vanilla, and mix until just incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two parts, beating after each addition or until just combined (this will take about 10 seconds). Scrape down the bowl and beat again for 5 seconds.
- In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Scoop 1 cup of the egg whites into the batter. use a rubber spatula to gently fold them in. After about 30 seconds of folding, add the remaining egg whites and gently fold until they are almost completely combined. Do not rush the folding process.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, or until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it onto the rack. Just before Serving, dust the cake with the confestions sugar. The cake can be stored at room temperature, covered tightly for about 3 days.
Adapted from ”Baked Explorations“ by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito