Cake Time

This is the moistest, most olive oiliest olive oil cake I’ve ever had. You don’t need anything more than a couple of mixing bowls, a whisk, spatula and cake pans to make it, and you can add bits of cut up fruit like grapes, pears and plums if you want (they’ll sink but who cares, olive oil cakes are allowed to be ugly). It has a lot of sugar, which tends to want to sink to the bottom of the bowl if you let the batter sit for more than a few seconds before baking, so take care to keep stirring as you portion into pans. The upside is this cake always has a nice caramelized crust on it.

It should go without saying that you really need to use a nice olive oil for this cake. If you can, go to a nice bulk oil and vinegar store, they’ll usually let you sample until you find one you really like. My general advice is to buy Greek olive oil as it has a pronounced fruitiness, and avoid Spanish olive oil for baking since it tends to have a spicy quality.

The Best Olive Oil Cake

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

Zest of 1 orange OR lemon

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups olive oil

1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare two small round or one large rectangular cake pan with nonstick spray and a light dusting of flour, tapping out any excess into the trash. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside (you can skip sifting unless your baking soda is like a solid clump). In a medium mixing bowl, gently whisk together the eggs, sugar and citrus zest, making sure not to incorporate too much air. Add half the oil and gently whisk to fully combine, then repeat with the rest. Repeat with the milk in two additions. Add one third of the flour and gently whisk in, going in small circles around the edge of the bowl until almost fully incorporated. Repeat twice with the other two thirds until completely homogenous. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake for 20 minutes, then rotate pans and bake another 10 before checking. The cake will puff considerably in the middle, so it’s important to use a long skewer to test for doneness. At this point keep rotating and checking every five minutes until the skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool considerably before turning out onto a rack to finish cooling. Let cool completely before slicing.

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