Saturday, January 24, 2009

Olive Oil Cake

Ever since I did an olive oil tasting course last April, I have become absolutely obsessed with olive oil. There is so many factors which influence the flavour of an oil including harvest time, location and soil, type of olives, the way the oil is pressed and its purity level. I personally like a very strong pungent oil but also really appreciate fresh and fruity styles.

I recently came across an oil I have fallen in love with called Rich Glen and after tasting this oil you realise that there is a difference to a fresh olive oil and a supermarket oil which has probably been sitting on the shelf or in boxes for a few months, and if they are imported just imagine how long it was since it was pressed.

Olive oil does not last forever, it does go rancid, or off, and should be stored in a cool space away from UV light as this will affect the taste. This is why most bottles wither have a foil around them or are very darkly coloured, to prevent this from occurring.

Well now that I have told you a little bit about olive oil I will get into how I have used it in cooking. Usually I would make savory dishes with this olive oil, like a nice fresh salad with a small drizzle over the top to give it a bit of a lift, or I would make hummus with it which turns out so much smoother and creamier with a little bit more olive oil.

However, today I wanted to try a dessert with olive oil. I have heard of olive oil cake before but was always hesitant to try it as it seemed to be boring and I envisioned it to be bland as there are so few flavours. Quite the contrary. I was very shocked with the flavour and also the texture, but I will go into this a little later on, first I must tell you how I made it.

Trish's Olive Oil Cake

3 eggs, beaten lightly
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup Galliano (or Grand Marnier)
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
3 tsps lemon zest
2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1. Firstly Mix together the eggs, sugar, olive oil, milk, Galliano, orange juice and zest.
2. Sift remaining dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture and mix until well combined. (It will be quite runny, and at first I thought too much so, but after baking it was fine so do not add extra flour).
3. I baked it for about 1.5hrs, 45 mins on 180 degrees and then 45 mins on 160 degrees. It started to cook too quickly on the outside and not enough on the inside, so I had to turn it down to make it more even. Mind you, I do not have a fan forced oven. It is arguably the worst oven ever, but we need to make do with what we have right!
4. Cool it on a rack and then serve with Orange Marmalade and a spoonful of cream or yogurt.

I decided to use a Bundt cake mould as I thought it would look prettier and nice to portion small slices from. It didn't matter that I sprayed that tin with a lot of olive oil spray so that the cake didn't did unfortunately and ripped the top off about a quarter of the cake. I was quite disappointed as it tasted so nice, but it happens, just means that I need to try again.

The cake had a nice crisp crust but was very moist, light and fluffy inside, which was surprising. It tasted slightly creamy and eggy which was a beautiful combination with the citrus, and yet due to the texture wasn't too heavy or rich that you cannot eat at least a slice (of course I had to while it was still warm). It didn't really taste like olive oil, but I realised this added much more to the texture. To compliment the flavours, it would be lovely served with some nice orange marmalade and a dollop of natural yogurt, I'm talking really marmalade with chunks or orange through it, not the sugar packed supermarket style.

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