Sunday, October 11, 2009
OLIVE OIL CAKE
Olive oil. Grapes. Olive oil. 5 eggs. Olive oil. Grapes? Seedless? Olive oil?
Never have I been so hesitant to make a cake until I watched French Food at Home and scribbled down this olive oil cake recipe. It sounded strange to make a cake from a very strong flavoured oil and even more so to drop whole grapes into the batter and make them pretend to be olives?!?
But it looked good. So when Laura Calda flashed her little winsome smile and cocked her head at me telling me how good it was I told her I might give it a try. But it was weeks before I finally made it.
However, instead of buying seedless grapes I had bought grapes with seeds in instead (silly me). That set the whole venture back by 2 whole days as I sat debating with myself. Shall I or shall I not go get seedless grapes? Or shall I use the grapes with seeds? Shall I or shall I not go get seedless grapes? Small mind, Big decisions.
But if you only knew how hot it has been here...which is SCORCHING.....you'll know why I hesitate even to put my foot beyond the door. It's so hot I thought I felt my brain fizzle.
That's why on most days I spend a lot of my time debating on non-issues as the rest of the world hurtles by. Obama gets a Nobel Peace Prize, Padang folks struggle to resume life, Thinkers think, a naval ship gets a short circuit and burns up/down, MCA has a leadership issue while my mind tinkers feebly.
Finally I pulled the bag of grapes out from the refrigerator the way Nigella pulls things out from hers. With a cunning look.
Let there be seeds. They'll just have to pick at them, meaning the people who are going to eat the cake. And so the olive oil cake, with the grapes pretending to be olives, was born.
Let there be seeds.
The cake was indeed good. It was very moist and light with a delicate scent of oranges and lemons. The grapes as it turned out did not look like olives after all. As it baked, the grapes lost some of their colour and turned out looking slightly sickly.
And no wonder Laura had suggested that some of the grapes be dropped into the batter half way through the baking. Which I did.
But when I turned the cake out and cut it, I began to wonder where the grapes had all gone. I could swear I put quite a fair bit in. At least 10 of them. But one thing was for sure. They all sank to the bottom. Well they were all pretty big and heavy so perhaps I should have used smaller ones.
But, nevertheless, the cake was really lovely..... and did I say that it was moist and light with a wonderful citrus flavour?
And the fact that it had olive oil in it made me feel better than if there had been butter. Better than butter. Almost.
3/4 cup olive oil (I used extra virgin)
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 cup flour
5 eggs, separated
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
some red grapes (I used about 10 or 12)
Preheat oven 350 or 180. Prepare a 9 inch or 8 inch spring form pan, greased and floured.
Beat yolks and sugar until light. Add the zests and then the flour. Mix in the flour until there are no lumps. Add olive oil and stir until well combined to a smooth batter.
Beat egg whites with a whisk until soft peaks form.
Fold in the egg whites into the flour-egg yolk mixture, a little at first, to loosen the mixture. Then add in the rest of the egg whites and fold in with a spatula gently so that not too much air is lost.
Pour batter into prepared pan and drop in half of the red grapes and halfway through baking drop in the rest of the grapes. Bake from the beginning for 35 or 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven brush it with olive oil and sprinkle some brown sugar on top. Let the cake rest for about 10 minutes before turning out. Serve.