Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake and a Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the Everyday Food giveaway! It was great to hear from so many of you and your e-mails truly made my day. Thanks to, the randomly-generated winner is: Karen Rau! I look forward to hosting more giveaways in the future, so check back for a chance to win.

Now back to your regularly scheduled posting:

I am a creature of habit, I think most of us are, so it suits me just fine that each of my weekday mornings start off the same. Wake up. Start the coffee pot. Put in my contacts. Turn on the Today Show. Drink coffee. Read
Food News Journal. Eat breakfast. Get ready. Go to work.

This morning was just like every other morning, until I stumbled across this article, which left me feeling more than a bit annoyed because it touched on one of the things I like least about the food world: "food trends." Shouldn't really good food be timeless? But here's the real kicker, the article goes on to say that not only are 'we going to be eating more rabbit' in the year to come, but 'olive oil is out in place of other oils.'

With that said, I give you Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake. For the last few weeks I've been searching for a simple, humble, no-fuss olive oil cake recipe, which proved a lot harder than I'd imagined. One recipe even instructed cooks to grind your own almond flour and boil and process citrus rind to make a citrus paste for the batter. Really? Who would have guessed a simple single-layer olive oil cake without frosting could be so complicated.

I finally came across a recipe from Giada De Laurentis, and boy is it something. This cake is modest and understated. It probably won't win any awards for showmanship. But its flavor and texture most surely will win over everyone you share it with. The outside is crisp, and slightly chewy, while the inside is golden and spongy, with an every-so-slightly gooey center.

When I made it, the center fell slightly towards the end of baking. If it happens to you, I wouldn't stress. Do not, however, forget to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Without it the cake will stick to the bottom of the pan, leaving you frustrated. Trust me. I kept it simple and just dusted it with powdered sugar, but a dollop of whipped cream or a smear of fruit preserves would be a nice addition.

Ingredients: (my adaptations in parenthesis)
From: Giada De Laurentis | Everyday Italian

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange zest (I used tangelos)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup whole milk (I used 2% and it turned out just fine)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used medium-bodied extra virgin olive oil)
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled (I processed them in a food processor to get a coarse crumb texture)
Powdered sugar, for sifting


To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8-inch-diameter cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the milk. Gradually beat in the oil.

Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the almonds. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes.

Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake and place on serving platter.

Happy Baking!


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