Most people who know me well understand that while I love cooking, I fear baking. And I fear baking for the exact same reason I love cooking – my complete inability to follow a recipe. (It’s not that I’m incapable of following a recipe, of course; it’s that I just plain don’t want to.)
But the olive oil tasting I attended last month inspired me to look for new and different recipes using olive oil, and one of the most interesting ones I came across was this one from the blog Sunday Suppers for olive oil cake. I could almost taste this as I read it, and I knew that I had to try it out, recipe be damned.
Of course, being the non-baking cook that I am, I couldn’t help but attempt a few modifications to the original recipe. I cut back the sugar fairly dramatically, from 2.5 cups to 1 cup, since I wanted the citrus and olive oil to be the stars. And speaking of citrus, the original recipe calls for lemon zest; I had an orange, so that’s what I used. Finally, instead of all-purpose flour, I used spelt flour.
Read on for my version of the recipe.
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups milk
2 cups all-purpose whole spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
Large pinch of salt
Zest of half an orange
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Rub olive oil on sides of 10 inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add olive oil, milk, and orange zest.
In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until blended. Do not over mix. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let the cake cool in the loaf pan. After cooling, run a knife along the edges to loosen. Remove cake slowly and carefully from pan (I used a spatula).
While a novice baker such as I shouldn’t probably be veering from a tested recipe for a cake I’d never before attempted, I reasoned that the substitutions were minor and probably wouldn’t affect the outcome. Mercifully, I was right. Even with less than half the sugar, the cake came out just sweet enough. And the spelt flour gave it a more rustic look and a slightly nutty flavour that complemented the olive oil.
But the best part of this was how moist the olive oil made the finished product. While it was good the day I baked it, it was even better a couple days later – still moist, and the flavours of the olive oil and zest had come through better. I’ll definitely look to this recipe next time I get the baking urge.
Does anyone have any other dead-easy baking recipes for me? Feel free to post them in the comments – I just might try (and blog about) one or two of them.