Olive Oil Cake with Macerated Fresh Fruit
Normally, an olive oil cake can be delightfully rich, but often dense in texture. My rendition takes on a more delicate texture by separating and whipping the egg whites separately from the cake batter base. A high quality, verdant olive oil is important here so you get the true richness of flavor perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the sugar and vanilla bean. I originally made this in early summer when berries were ripe and local, but feel free to substitute any seasonal fruit, like pear slices, peaches, or even figs would be phenomenal. Serves 8
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
all purpose flour, for the pan
1 cup strawberries, rinsed, stemmed and quartered
1 cup blueberries, rinsed
1 cup raspberries, rinsed
1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup set aside
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 cup cake flour
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 egg whites
1 tsp salt
powdered sugar, for garnish
Set the oven at 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 inch round cake pan, then set aside.
To prepare the fruit mixture, combine the strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries with only 3 Tbsp of granulated sugar. Mix to combine and set in the fridge until ready to use with the finished cake.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 2/3 cup granulated sugar and egg yolks. Beat for 3-5 minutes until sugar is fully dissolved and incorporated. Add the vanilla bean, 2 Tbsp of the lemon juice, and most of the lemon zest; mix to combine.
Beat in the cake flour until just combined; do not over mix. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the olive oil until fully mixed. Transfer the cake batter to a large mixing bowl, set aside, and clean the mixer to prepare the egg whites.
Using the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and salt to the mixing bowl, and turn speed to medium to whip the egg whites. Sprinkle in the remaining granulated sugar as the egg whites are whipping, and mix until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
With a spatula, fold the whipped egg white mixture into the cake batter, gently until just combined and being certain not to deflate the egg whites.
Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan, tapping the pan on the counter to avoid any air bubbles, place on the center rack in the preheated oven, and bake for about 35 minutes.
Test the cake for doneness, a toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean, then set on a rack to cool for about 30 minutes.
Run an offset spatula around the edges and gently transfer the cake onto a serving platter. Garnish the top with sifted powdered sugar. Remove the macerated fruit from the fridge, give a quick stir, taste for seasoning, and add any remaining lemon zest if you like. Slice the cake into 8 portions and serve with a generous scoop of juicy berries.