olive oil & red grape cake
If I were to name my sweet weakness, cake wouldn’t be it. Once every blue moon though comes a cake with that certain something that causes my knees to wobble and my will to crumble. Enter this cake.
Generally cakes tend to be a bit sweet for me, sugar muscling out every other taste sensation. This cake is sweet enough to be called a cake, but doesn’t overpower the palate with sugar. My own sweet weakness is for fruit desserts and most cakes are rather wussy in the fruit department. This cake is deliciously fragrant with citrus, both lemon and orange, and has purply bursts of fresh grape. Many cakes are made of more than a dozen ingredients. This has 8 very simple ones. There’s only 1 cup of flour in this 9-inch cake. The lightness and golden color come from eggs. The exquisite richness, from a fruity olive oil (to name another weakness.) This is a fine-textured, delicately scented, out-of-the-ordinary cake quite perfect for finishing a meal. And if sweet tea-time be your weakness, could I suggest…
Citrusy Olive Oil & Red Grape Cake
- 5 eggs, separated
- ¾ cup (155 g) sugar, with more for sprinkling
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, more for brushing*
- Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 cup (125 g, 5 ounces) cake flour sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 9 ounces (250 g) seedless red grapes
You’ll need a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan.
* I recommend a light or sweet & fruity sort – avoid the pungent peppery kind you might love dipping your bread in.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Rub the springform pan with a little olive oil, and line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit.
Grate the zest from the lemon and orange, and then juice the lemon. (One means of getting more juice from the lemon is to roll it back & forth on the counter first, applying medium pressure with the palm of your hand. Or put the lemon in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds to help release the juices. Slice in half and juice.)
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick, pale and ribbony. Mix in the olive oil, lemon juice and the zest of both the lemon and the orange. Add the flour, and stir to combine.
Beat the egg whites with the salt ’til stiff peaks form, then gently fold them into the lemony batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Plunk in half of the grapes, fairly evenly throughout the batter. (These will sink to the bottom.)
Total bake time is 40 to 45 minutes – HOWEVER – after 20 minutes, quickly open the oven and scatter the remaining grapes evenly across the top of the cake. Then continue baking for another 20 to 25 minutes. (In my oven another 20 is enough.) When a toothpick (or cake tester) inserted comes out clean, remove the cake to a wire cooling rack.
Brush the top generously with olive oil and sprinkle a bit more sugar over the top. (You might have a pump-style dispenser that you put olive oil in. We love ours for controlling the amount of olive oil we add before cooking, or sprayed onto cooked vegetables, or onto salad greens when we’re wanting just a little along with a squirt of lemon. It works great for spraying cakes too!)
When the cake is cool, un-mold and serve. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar if desired.
Our family has a tradition of red eggs at Easter ~ I’ll share about that in an upcoming post ~ this cake seems to echo the theme of red eggs, so it’s destined for our table that night.
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This recipe is only slightly modified from Laura Calder’s in French Taste