Alex and I were invited to a friend’s BBQ birthday bash this evening. I offered to bring a side, and here’s what we brought:
Nice, right? Well, just so you know I’m definitely not perfect (and maybe the title of this post gave it away), it took a bit of creative problem-solving to get it that way. Here’s how it all went down:
The recipe for this Lemon Olive Oil Cake is from the Boston Globe which I stumbled across while I was doing some research for work, and here it is with my adaptations:
– Separate 7 room temperature eggs. (Make sure your eggs are fresh! Read more here).
– Butter and flour a 9″ or 9.5″ springform pan. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
– Mix together the dry ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, zest from one lemon.
– Begin to beat the yolks with a whisk, adding 1.5 cups of sugar slowly. Next, while still beating, slowly add 1 cup good quality olive oil. *Note: I didn’t have a lemon at the time, but I did have lemon olive oil. But only half a cup. So I actually used 1/2 cup lemon olive oil and 1/2 cup canola oil, with no additional lemon zest.*
– Then stir in the dry ingredients. (Yes, you can do this in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, but you’re probably going to want to use the mixer for this next part coming up).
– In a separate bowl, beat your egg whites until they form stiff peaks. (I, being stand- and hand- electric mixer-less, decided to do it by hand. After all, surely that’s what we did before electricity, right? I certainly got quite the forearm workout, but finally they looked fluffy).
– Pour about 1/4 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and stir to combine. Then fold the other 3/4 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture until it is combined but still fluffy.
– Finally, pour your fluffy batter into the prepared springform pan, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes, or until the center/top of the cake springs back when poked, and the middle doesn’t seem jiggly when you shake the pan. <– this is important, unless you a) like gooey pudding cake or b) want to mess up on purpose to re-create the dessert I describe here.
– Let the cake cool before removing the springform ring and sprinkling with powdered sugar.
As you can probably guess, this is where I got too excited. Sure, the top sprang back when I poked it, but the middle was definitely still jiggly. I took it out anyway, and it looked beautiful! Like this:
But after it had cooled, I discovered that the middle had sunk down as though an asteroid had landed and looked like this:
(Why, yes, someone did cut themself a slice to sample!) Here’s another view of just how much the middle sank:
Yikes! Personally, I don’t really like pudding cakes. Pudding anything has never really appealed to me–bread puddings, rice puddings, Jell-o pudding cups…definitely not my thing. Unfortunately, the middle of this cake wasn’t quite pudding consistency; it was like I could still feel the grainy texture of the sugar, so I knew it wasn’t quite right.
But, in a stroke of creative genius, I decided to salvage the cake (because it tasted incredibly good!) by scooping out the middle and filling it with berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries).
By the way, after I cut up the strawberries, I tossed them all together gently in a spoonful of honey and about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Definitely did the trick! The cake was a big hit. If you’ve never had an olive oil cake before, you might be surprised at how sweet it is. Certainly it’s not as sweet as, say, a pre-packaged cake mix or one you might pick up at the store drenched in icing. It was closer to a sweet souffle or a dense angel food cake. The olive oil flavor was extremely subtle, and the slight lemon flavor paired beautifully with the fresh berries.
So I encourage you to give this recipe a try (either the original version, or my improvised “accident” cake), and let me know how it turns out! Have you ever managed to save a dish you thought was ruined? Leave a comment and tell us about it!