My first experience with an olive oil cake was when I made my very first Sauternes cake. The divine combination of the fragrant Sauternes wine and the spiciness of the olive oil just captured my imagination and subsequently my palette. Since then, I have rarely hesitated to experiment with olive oil in my baking. I developed this version of the olive oil cake a few weeks ago after two deeply frustrating attempts at following a recipe that was meant to give me a stunning chocolate cake!! Being an intuitive cook I just knew that something was not quite right - but then the recipe came from what is widely considered a well-trusted source. Anyway, after I chucked 2 cakes in the bin, I went back to my own judgement and vowed not follow recipes after all ;)
Lime and olive oil are a classic combination and I think that lemon and freshly crushed black pepper are simply divine. For those unfamiliar with the use of black pepper in desserts, try this and you'll be a convert!! I used Persian limes which we have started getting once again over the winter months and some very good quality extra virgin olive oil in the cake. The best ingredients do yield the best results!!
Now you can glaze this cake, and that makes it perfect for tea. Its an unbeatable winter dessert as its light crumb texture goes beautifully with rich creamy vanilla English-style custard!! Stored in an air-tight box, the cake will stay very well up to a week, or it can be cut up into serving sizes and frozen for two months. Do try this recipe and let me know how you liked it.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Greek yogurt
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon pure citron extract
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp coarsely crushed black pepper
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
Mix the sugar and water in a pan. Make a syrup of a 2 thread consistency. Remove from heat. Add cornflour - whip rapidly to blend. Cool a little before adding the lemon juice.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using olive oil, grease an 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Place the pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. Next sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and keep near by. Whisk together the sugar, zest, yogurt, eggs and citron extract. Blend well. Spoon in the sifted dry ingredients mix. Finally blend in the oil. The batter will be very thick and shiny. spoon into the greased loaf pan. Bake the cake for about one hour or until it is golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, remove and cool.
Glaze, allow to set, serve with tea, ice cream, or if you can lay your hands on some clotted cream and a bowl of fresh tropical fruits!!
This lovely cake also goes to Sandy @ At The Baker's Bench and her baking event BYOB!
P.S. The photograph is 'before the lime-glaze icing'.
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