Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Olive Oyl

My Italian ancestors would be mortified, I'm sure, to know that lately I've kept canola oil in my pantry instead of olive oil. Seriously, I haven't even owned a bottle of olive oil in over a year.

While canola oil is the better choice for baking, which is why I chose it, it doesn't give much flavor to salad dressings or anything that is sauteed. I figured this could be compensated for to a certain degree with seasonings, whereas the density that olive oil gives my baked goods can't. A brick, after all, is still a brick no matter how much sugar I add.

Enter the June 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times where, amidst a series of baking recipes calling specifically for olive oil, there just happened to be a cake recipe with berries, citrus, wine, and olive oil. I screamed silently at the editors of the magazine, "Gawwwwd, twist my arm, why don't you!" Then I ran to the store to buy a bottle.

Despite such terrible pain in my arm, I managed to come up with this:

I take back everything I ever said about baking with olive oil. This cake was light and fluffy, almost sponge-y but in a good way, and the flavor was not overly sweet or olive-y. The citrus zests and wine lent bits of flavor that were perfectly balanced, yet there was plenty of room for a berry compote or maybe a sorbet to accompany the cake.

The editors note that the "recipe calls for a sweet wine to flavor the cake, but you could also use white wine left over from last night's dinner." While several of my regular readers don't ever wonder what to do with last night's wine because there is never any wine left over, those who do might find their own arms twisted just enough to... well, you know.

Figs were tasty, but I suggest a juicier berry to serve with the cake.

Olive Oil-Wine Cake
from Vegetarian Times, June 2012

Serves 10

2/3 C olive oil
1 1/2 C AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C sweet dessert wine, such as Moscato, Marsala, or Muscat
1/3 C orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp grated lemon zest
4 eggs
1 C sugar
2 TBSP confectioners' sugar
1-2 pints fresh berries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9" springform pan with cooking spray or olive oil. Line bottom of pan with a circle of parchment paper, cut to fit.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, wine, orange juice, and zests.
3. Beat eggs and sugar in stand mixer or with electric mixer for 4 minutes, or until pale yellow and tripled in volume. Add half of dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until blended. Add half of liquid mixture, and mix to blend. Repeat with remaining dry and liquid mixtures.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan, and set on baking sheet. Bake 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, and then remove sides of pan to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with berries (or compote).

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