Olive oil is most commonly associated with savory applications. However, in Mediterranean cuisine it often replaces butter in baking and can be found in a number of sweet recipes. Olive oil cake has roots in the Mediterranean, with lore that it is native to both Portugal and Italy. It is often served at breakfast or as an afternoon treat.
The fruit essence of olive oil pairs well with the blood oranges used in this coulis recipe, as blood oranges are grown in the Mediterranean. The flavor of this cake can range from mild to bold depending on the particular oil you choose, and its light and spongy nature makes it a perfect ending to a heavy Italian meal.
Olive Oil Cake with Blood Orange Coulis
Serves | 8 to 10 |
- 4 to 5 blood oranges, peeled
- ¼ cup fresh blood orange juice
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1½ tsp orange zest
- ¾ tsp salt, divided, plus more to top batter
- 1¼ cups cake flour
- ¾ cup sugar, divided
- 5 eggs, separated and reserved
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
- 6 oz evaporated milk
- 1½ Tbsp orange juice
- 1½ Tbsp sugar for sprinkling
| Preparation - Coulis | Purée all ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth and slightly thickened. Chill in refrigerator.
| Preparation - Cake | Preheat oven to 350ºF. Whisk the orange zest and ½ tsp salt with cake flour. In a separate bowl add ½ cup sugar to 5 egg yolks and beat on high with an electric mixer until mixture is thick and pale, about 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil, evaporated milk and orange juice. Mix until just combined. Gently stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until just combined. Set aside. Thoroughly clean beaters.
In another large bowl, beat remaining salt and 4 of the reserved egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy.
Slowly add ¼ cup sugar to the egg whites, and continue beating until the whites just hold a soft peak, about 3 minutes. Gently fold 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture. Gently fold in remaining whites until well-incorporated.
Grease a springform pan with some olive oil. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, and brush paper with oil. Pour batter into the pan and lightly tap to free any air bubbles.
Sprinkle 1½ Tbsp of sugar over the top of the batter. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until top is golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. A crackly crust will form on the top of the cake. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edge to release and remove side of springform pan. Cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with additional sugar if desired.
| To Serve | Drizzle coulis lightly around whole cake, or, if serving individual slices, pour coulis onto dessert plates and place cake slices atop coulis.
Measuring up. When baking, make sure all ingredients are measured out before you start mixing. Baking is a science, and combining ingredients at the wrong time can change your final product. For example, when beating eggs with sugar, make sure you don't let the sugar sit with the eggs for any amount of time. Sugar will affect the egg-protein coagulation and in a sense begin to cook the eggs, potentially changing the cake's consistency.
The cake's namesake. When choosing olive oil for this dish, consider your options. Virgin or regular olive oil will produce a milder flavor in the cake, while extra-virgin oil will provide a more noticeable olive oil flavor. If you are showcasing your olive oil in this cake, choose a high-quality extra-virgin oil to yield a more distinct flavor.
Join FEAST and Schnucks Cooking School on Wed., Feb. 22 at 6pm to make the tasty dishes in the menu above. Tickets are just $45 for a night of cooking, dining and wine. RSVP at schnuckscooks.com.