I have been dreaming of all things lemon since the beginning of time. During my last pregnancy I was lemon obsessed, which isn’t unusual for me given the fact I have been dreaming about lemons since before Adam was simply mere dirt waiting to be formed. But it got to the point where Mike was all like “REALLY, you need MORE lemon?! You are going to turn into a lemon!” And my response was “Whatever, your just jeelus because you think I love lemons more than you.” And he was all “Why don’t you just marry a lemon then.” And I was all “Maybe I will! BAM!! I win.” Because we are all totally mature like that. In fact, this is how all our conversations go or at least how I choose to remember them.
Anyway as part of my quest for all things lemon I had to make a lemon olive oil cake. Because both lemons and olive oil are gifts from God and while it sounds like an odd combination for a cake the olive oil takes place of butter creating a velvety texture to the cake and lemon provides a bright, light punch. I also prefer extra virgin olive oil because it provides a delectable fruitiness (is that a word? well it is now!) to the cake. Although one could use regular olive oil if need be.
Again you may think it sounds crazy but really this cake is amazing. Absolutely Amazing.
It is also the prefect addition to a feast day. We had this lemon olive oil cake last night in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. It is right dessert to have at the table when you want a bright and fresh end to an Italian dinner or who am I kidding when you want it for any reason!
What You Need:
2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 Medium-Large Lemon (1–2 Teaspoons)
1 Cup of All Purpose Flour
5 Egg yolks
4 Egg Whites
3/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
Lemon Icing Glaze:
3–4 Tablespoons of fresh Lemon Juice
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
Olive Oil or Butter to coat pan & light dusting of Flour (makes it not stick)
Cook 350 degrees, in middle of oven, for 40–45 minutes
How To Put It Together:
In a small bowl add the olive oil & 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, mix it together and set aside. You will add it into the cake batter in just a minute.
In a mixing bowl beat the yolks together with 1/2 cup of sugar at high speed. Beat it for 2–3 minutes until the mix becomes thick and pale. Reduce the speed to a medium and add the olive oil & lemon juice mix.
On a slow speed add in the flour & lemon zest. Incorporate only do not over mix. (original recipe calls for folding in with a wooden spoon, I did fine with the mixer but had to do it on a very slow speed & just to incorporate).
Now in a small bowl beat your egg whites (4) with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Beat these together until you have a foamy mixture, use a medium to high speed for this. As you are beating them slowly add in the rest of the sugar (1/4 cup) so you can create soft peaks in the egg white-sugar combination. If you mess this up don’t worry, you will still have a banging cake but it might be a slightly denser texture.
After this fold in the soft peaky-egg whites mixture to the previous egg yolk-flour batter. For this don’t use the mixer, I found it was much easier to use a wooden spoon or spatula to fold these in and will keep the cake from getting tool dense.
Pour the completed batter into the lightly oiled/buttered & floured cake pan above. You can use a bread loaf pan, regular 9 inch round cake pan or a springform pan. After you have the batter in the pan, tap the bottom of the pan on a counter/table top to remove air bubbled. Then pop in the oven.
Bake on a rack in the middle of the oven at 350 degrees for 40–45 minutes. Use the old toothpick in the center of the cake to see if it is cooked through. If you stick the toothpick in the center of the cake it should come out clean when the cake is fully cooked.
Once done cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan, place on serving plate & top with the lemon icing glaze. You can make the lemon icing glaze while your cake cools by mixing powdered sugar & lemon juice in a small bowl.
Serve to hungry crowd.
A few caveats: You could also put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the cake pan before adding in your cake batter. If you do this make sure the parchment paper is well oiled/buttered & that you remove the parchment paper before adding the glaze. I haven’t ever bothered with this, it hasn’t caused any problems so far at least in my perspective. Also, I used all purpose flour because that is what I had on hand, the original recipe calls for cake flour (not self-rising) it worked fine.
You could also go with a non-lemon glaze, a good dose of powdered sugar or homemade whipped cream on top with fresh fruit.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine April 2006