One of my favorite recipes using extra-virgin Italian olive oil is in this citrus olive oil cake that I adapted from a recipe by Anne Quatrano in Food & Wine Magazine. I have always made this cake with a Ligurian olive oil, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I went to the market and found a bottle of Lucini premium select extra virgin olive oil, made from hand-picked olives in central Italy. Lucini is a brand I was familiar with but I stopped buying it because it was bottled in clear glass. Now it’s bottled in dark glass and you can buy an organic version, too. The oil is delightfully fruity.
The recipe calls for a 10-inch diameter round cake pan. A 9-inch pan is too small to accommodate this cake. I know it’s a nuisance to have to buy a pan you may not have, but I think you’ll want to make this cake many, many times. You can find 10-inch round cake pans online. One source is lacuisineus.com. I think you’ll be glad you bought one.
Olive Oil Citrus Cake
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (8 ounces, spooned lightly into dry measuring cups and leveled with a straight edge), plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons whole milk
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
For serving: Fresh orange sections, sliced strawberries and blueberries
Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together thoroughly the 1 3/4 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk the melted butter with the olive oil and milk.
In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar and citrus zest until pale and thickened, about 5 minutes. The eggs should have the texture of softly whipped cream. Alternately beat in on low speed the dry and wet ingredients in small installments, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. I use 5 dry and 4 wet additions. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and level it gently.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and the side pulls away from the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out dry. Cool the cake in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Cover the cake with another rack and carefully invert the two. Lift off the cake pan, cover with a rack, and invert again to cool the cake right side up. Cool completely before serving.