What is the secret ingredient for a tender moist cake?- an olive oil batter is the answer.A high quality olive oil keeps a cake moist and adds another dimension of fruitiness.Olive oil cakes are a very Mediterranean thing.Portugal, Spain Italy and Greece, are all countries where olive oil reigns supreme, even in desserts, all those lovely moist orange and lemon polenta cakes.You must be thinking, don’t these cakes taste like olive oil? No, they don’t, nor would you want them to, that is not the point.I use extra-virgin oil - and there is never an olivey taste to the cake, although I could easily detect it in the sticky residue that was left in the pan. Ever since David Leite´s "The new Portuguese Table" came out in 2009 I have been serving our breakfast guests a Portuguese Orange olive oil cake.This has become a much requested staple,and is even cited in Alastair Sawdays special places to stay. 5 years on and I have now discovered George Mendes Lemon olive oil cake which is a lot simpler to make and equally tasty. Orange or lemon, who´s going to be served up on the casa rosada breakfast table? Two Portuguese boys who have grown up and brought their culinary heritage to the United States. Let the battle begin.I have come to olive oil cakes by default.They are great for guests who genuinely can not eat wheat or dairy( a majority of cakes include butter in the ingredients). Olive oil doesn’t help with leavening, but it does supply moistness. In cakes using butter and shortening, the fat is usually creamed with sugar to aerate the batter. But oil doesn’t hold air bubbles the way a solid fat will, so olive oil cakes get almost all their leavening from other sources like baking soda, or whipped egg whites. Obviously I have to replace the flour in any recipe with ground almonds or polenta, and I now make these cakes all the time as a preference for ourselves, even though our life and diet are not so unfairly constrained by these inflicting dietary requirements.I can not wait to try out a chocolate olive oil cake.I can hear the thespian salivating in the wings as I write this.What really makes this recipe is the cardamom requeijao cream,It´s well Dench.
Olive oil cake with cardamom requeijao cream
1 cup(250ml) fruity olive oil
1 cup (250ml)full fat milk
3 large eggs
2tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
12/3 cups(355g) sugar
21/2 cups (385g) all purpose flour
11/2 tsp flor de sal
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pre-heat the oven to 150C(300F).Lightly grease a 13 x 9inch (33 x 23cm) cake pan with oil
or cooking spray.Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease again.
In a medium bowl,whisk together the oil, milk,and eggs until smooth.
In a large bowl,rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingertips.Whisk in the flour,salt,baking powder and baking soda.Continue whisking while adding the wet ingredients in a slow steady stream.Whisk just until smooth and well combined,then pour into the prepared pan.
Bake,rotating the pan halfway through,until the top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed with your fingertip,about 30 minutes.
let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.Cut into pieces to serve.Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.
FOR THE CARDAMOM REQUEIJAO CREAM
3/4 (180ml) heavy cream or mascarpone
5 whole green cardamom pods,lightly crushed
2 large egg yolks
2tbsp sugar,plus more to taste
3/4 cup(165g) requeijao or ricotta
2 cups (300g) small or quartered strawberries
toasted slithered almonds,for serving
In a medium saucepan,combine the cream and cardamom.Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then remove from the heat,cover,and allow to steep for 30 minutes.Pick out and discard the cardamom.Bring the cream back to a simmer over a medium heat.
In a medium bowl,whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well combined.Continue to whisk while adding the simmered cream in a slow steady stream.Return the mixture to the saucepan and and whisk over a low heat until thickened,with fine bubbles.You should have a thick curd like custard registering 85F / 30C on a sugar thermometer.Remove from the heat,then whisk in the cheese until smooth.Refrigerate until set.
While cream mixture chills,prepare the strawberries with sugar to taste and a splash of water.Heat over a medium heat until just warm,about two minutes.remove from the heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature,serve the strawberries and chilled cream alongside the cake and sprinkle with the almonds.