This cake is one of our most favorite sweets, and we’ve made it so often that when we turned to our index this weekend to pull up the recipe, we were surprised to find we’d not yet posted it here.
The cake is light and springy, tender and none-too-sweet, the lemon bright and refreshing, the olive oil adding a silky richness. It’s effortless and elegant, and easily adaptable: as delicious at dinner as at afternoon tea (or even breakfast!).
We always make ours with extra virgin olive oil, because it’s what we have in the house, but imagine that a fruitier oil would be as if, if not more, delicious. And we always serve ours with a dollop of freshly whipped, slightly sweetened cream, and if we’re feeling fancy, candied lemon slices.
lemon olive oil cake.
Adapted from Epicurious
3/4 cup olive oil, plus additional for greasing pan
1 large lemon, unsprayed if possible
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (make sure the rack is in the middle.) Grease a 9 inch springform pan with some olive oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.
2. Finely grate the lemon, and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, squeeze and reserve the fresh lemon juice.
3. Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in flour mixture until just combined.
4. Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
5, Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
6. Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. (Be sure to test the center for done-ness!)
7. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.
8. Delicious served with freshly whipped cream and candied lemon slices!