This past week I did zero baking. Over the weekend I felt the pressure to spend some free afternoon hours in my kitchen, but I talked myself out of it. It was my birthday weekend after all, and truth be told, I was on a little sugar overload from all of the cupcakes.
So my kitchen stood empty and I enjoyed the break. I really enjoyed it, actually. I think lately I’ve lost sight of the whole purpose behind this blog. It’s not about the number of posts, it’s not how many visitors or comments I have. It’s not about money or a quest for fame.
It’s about doing something that I love.
I love to bake. It’s fun, relaxing (except when it isn’t), and you just can’t beat a yummy baked treat.
I love to share my baking with you. Taking pictures in my kitchen is fun, as is all of the yoga positions I put myself into to get the perfect shot. Writing down my thoughts about life and food, can be difficult sometimes, but when I get them down just right, it feels good.
Most importantly, I love interacting with you, my readers and my friends. Few things make me happier than reading a kind comment from one of you. And when you give one of my recipes a try and write me to tell me how much you loved it? That totally makes my day.
You want to know something else I love? This lemon olive oil cake. I’ve made it so many times now and I just can’t get enough. It’s got a brightness of flavor and lightness of texture that makes it really hard for me to stop after one, or even two, slices. If you were to sample a little of the batter before baking, you would taste a strong presence of olive oil, and you might wonder if it’s all going to work out. Don’t worry, it will.
The olive oil produces a cake that is very moist and light, and compliments the fruitiness of the lemon, but it does so without drawing attention to fact that you’re eating a cake made with the stuff. In fact, if you didn’t know olive oil was part of the recipe, it’s likely you wouldn’t even know it was there.
Like I said, I’ve made this cake several times. I’ve baked it in a cake pan and baked it in a loaf pan. I’ve served it with sweetened whipped cream, and also with a lemon glaze. All variations are fantastic. It doesn’t need the glaze, but I like how it adds an extra punch of lemony sweetness. The key is to not over bake the cake, as it will go from a super moist cake to a dry one very quickly.
This cake is not the most beautiful, and it isn’t super fancy. It’s just a simple cake, one you can put together quickly and enjoy without breaking a sweat. I’m in love.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes 1 loaf cake or 8 inch cake
3/4 cup olive oil*
1 large lemon
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 egg yolks
4 egg whites
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch springform, or 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with olive oil and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and then dust with flour.
Grate the lemon zest from the lemon and mix together with the flour in a medium bowl. Juice the lemon.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the olive oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice (mixture may appear separated). Add the flour mixture and fold in gently with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Spoon the batter into a large bowl and wash and dry the bowl and whisk attachment for the stand mixer. Add the 4 egg whites to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until foamy. Continue to beat on high, slowly adding 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat just to soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cake batter until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking pan and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar 1 tablespoon of the fresh lemon juice. Add more lemon juice if necessary to get the desired consistency. Pour over the cooled cake.
*I’ve exclusively used extra-virgin olive oil in this cake, but from a very standard grocery store brand, nothing expensive or fancy. Epicurious indicates that both extra-virgin and regular olive oil produce great results.
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