Using olive oil in baking is not only a great way of adding more olive oil to your diet it also ensures good results without too much effort! Here are three lovely cake recipes using extra virgin olive oils from France, California and Spain. The first recipe comes from my fellow cookery writer, chef and sourdough expert Hilary Cacchio who spends much of her time in Roussillon in south West France.
Grape Harvest Cake
This luscious but not overly sweet cake celebrates all the lovely ingredients that are harvested at this time of the year in the Roussillon region. It features local grapes and olive oil as well as almonds from Alberes and oranges from just down the road in Valencia. It is delicious served as a dessert accompanied by a glass of local Muscat de Rivesaltes or just a cup of coffee.
- 125g Caster Sugar
- 3 large Organic Eggs
- 2cm piece Vanilla Pod or few drops Vanilla Extract
- Orange, just the zest
- 120mls Fruity, Single Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pinch Sea Salt
- 200g Plain Flour
- 70g Whole Almonds with skins, ground finely
- 2g Baking Powder
- 200g Any good flavoured black or green grape – Seeded and, if large, cut in half
Pre- heat the oven to 180C. Either line with parchment paper or butter & flour a 23cm cake tin
Put the eggs, caster sugar, seeds from the vanilla pod and the orange zest into a medium/large bowl and whisk with electric beaters until the mixture turns pale yellow and becomes thick & mousse like – about 8 minutes. Gradually beat in the olive oil and pinch of salt.
Sprinkle the flour, the freshly ground almonds & baking powder over the mixture then stir until thoroughly incorporated, you can use the electric beaters but do it gently and slowly. Stir in ¾ of the grapes and tip the batter into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining grapes over the top of the cake and bake for about 35-45 minutes, until the cake is just set in the centre and is golden brown, leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Best served warm
Olive Ridge Orange and Almond Cake
This cake features in my book Remarkable Recipes and comes from Colleen McGlynn at the Da Vero oliv estate in Sonoma County and naturally she used the estate’s own extra virgin olive oil which is pressed from the range of Italian olive varieties imported in California in the early 1990s. The cake will last for days without goiung stale – that is if there is any left after the first day!
- 150g blanched almonds
- 1 large or 2 small oranges
- 1 medium lemon
- 4 eggs
- ½ tsp salt
- 300g sugar
- 175g plain flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 150ml DaVero extra virgin olive oil
- Icing sugar
Set the oven to 180°C/350˚F/Gas 4. Grease a 24cm (9-10in) spring-form tin .
Spread the almonds over a baking tray and place in the oven. Toast for about 5-7 minutes. Watch them carefully as they will turn brown quite suddenly. Cool and chop finely in a food processor. Cover the oranges and lemon with water and simmer for about 30 minutes. Drain and cool. Discard the pulp of the lemon and any lemon or orange seeds. Chop finely in a food processor.
Beat the eggs and salt until frothy. Gradually add the sugar. Sift the flour and baking powder together and carefully fold into the egg mixture. Next add the fruit, nuts and olive oil, taking care not to over-mix. Spoon the mixture into the greased tin and bake for about an hour until the sides begin to come away and the middle is set. Leave to cool. Serve dusted with icing sugar.
MOTHER’S GARDEN CARROT AND WALNUT CAKE
The walnuts add a great crunchy texture to the traditional carrot cake. Maggie Whitman at Mother’s Garden in Catalonia in Spain uses the local extra virgin oil which they now expert to many parts of Europe and to the US.
- 100g Self-raising wholemeal flour
- 100g butter
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100g carrots
- 2 handfuls of raisins (soaked in orange juice for half hour, minimum)
- 50g ground almonds
- 100g walnuts
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 C, 350 F. Grease a 20-cm round cake tin and line it with grease proof paper.
In a bowl mix 100g of softened butter and 100g of soft brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs and gradually add the flour to the mixture. Grate 100g of carrots into the mixture. Add the soaked raisins. Add 50g ground almonds. Roughly chop 100g of walnuts and add. Mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and grated ginger into the mixture and stir well.
Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake should be golden brown. When cold, top with icing – make this by simply mixing icing sugar with soft cream cheese until sweet to your own taste.