Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lemony Fig Olive Oil Cake

 I know, I know. I just posted a grilled fig pizza, but figs are still in the market for a short time, and for those of you with fig trees, you may be up to your ears in these sensuous beauties and looking for ways other than fig pizza or fig jam to make use of them. This lemony olive oil cake will not disappoint. It's the best version of an olive oil cake I've ever eaten (caveat - it does contain butter also). If you don't have figs, use other fruit, like peaches, plums or apricots -- even apples.

It has a tender crumb, a delicious citrusy flavor (boosted by a lemon olive oil sent to me by Nudo) and it's easy to prepare. A sprinkling of powdered sugar on top (and a stencil of a fig leaf is nice too) is all the decoration you need.

Pardon me while I get a little crazy on my "pop art" attempt.

 After making the cake, I wanted to see how that lemon olive oil would taste in a savory dish, without any cooking involved, but straight out of the tin. 

So I grilled some grape tomatoes on one part of the grill, while on the other side, I placed some flounder on a piece of tin foil that had been smeared with regular olive oil, not the Nudo al limone. I splashed the flounder with a bit of white wine, then seasoned it with salt, pepper, slices of shallot, lemon slices and bits of fresh thyme. I closed the lid for five minutes and came back to a perfectly cooked piece of flounder. I plated it, strewing the tomatoes around the fish and finished it with a healthy drizzle of the Nudo olio d'oliva al limone. The fresh lemony flavor was evident in every bite and I think it's the best possible use of this olive oil. The cake was delicious, don't get me wrong. I plan to make it again and again. But with the lemon zest and citrus juice already in the cake recipe, I'm not sure the lemony olive oil really stands out. In this fish dish, however, the oil is a star. 

Lemony Fig Olive Oil Cake

printable recipe here

adapted from Lottie and Doof blog, but originally from Chicago's "Floriole" restaurant

amounts were given in grams, and I find that method of baking much more accurate. But I've converted the measurements for U.S. cooks who don't have a scale.

  • 200 grams granulated sugar (a little less than 1 cup)

  • zest of 2 lemons (I used the zest of an orange because I had already zested the remaining lemon in the fridge for another recipe - either orange or lemon zest is great)

  • 100 grams melted butter (about 7 T. butter)

  • 200 grams olive oil (1 cup - I used the Nudo al limone brand olive oil)

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 250 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cup)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 large eggs

  • about 1-1 1/2 cups fruit (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches- whatever is in season!) 

  • (I used figs cut into halves)

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Butter and line the bottom of a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper.

Combine lemon zest and sugar in a bowl, rub zest into the sugar to release essential oils—set aside. Combine melted butter, olive oil and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Sift together flour and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine eggs, sugar mixture and salt. Beat at high speed until very pale yellow in color and has about doubled in volume. You are looking for the batter to hold a “ribbon”. With mixer still running slowly add oil mixture to egg mixture. You are slowly emulsifying the oil into the egg mixture. If you do this properly the mixture will not break.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixture and fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.

Pour about 2/3 of batter into bottom of the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle whatever fruit you are using on top. Cover with remaining batter and bake for approx. 35-40 minutes or until the cake is set. You can use a toothpick to test, it should come out clean. I like a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar on top.

 Filet of Flounder or Sole with Lemon Olive Oil

Place some cherry or grape tomatoes on an aluminum foil container on the grill, into which you've smeared a little olive oil. Cook at high heat until they burst open and/or caramelize. On another burner, on low heat, place another aluminum foil container, onto which you've smeared a little olive oil. Place the filet of sole or flounder on the oil. Splash with a little white wine. Then strew the fish with sliced shallot, slices of lemon, sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Close the lid on the grill and check back in five minutes. The fish should be done or nearly done. Remove to a place and scatter the tomatoes all around, then drizzle with the lemon-flavored olive oil.

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  1. A beautiful cake! It looks so delicious. I love baking with different kinds of oils...



  2. I have an obsession with olive oil cakes so I am sure this one would be on my list to try.

  3. You can never have enough fig recipes or olive oil cakes for me! Both are my favorite!
    I saw this on Lottie & Doof's site. I have never added butter to my olive oil cake, that must be why this one was the best. I guess I will be making this soon.

  4. Never tried an Olive Oil cake, not sure where we can get Olive Oil Limone from .. I know there are two shops in Oxford I could try, ahh just thought of something, my husband is in Italy right now!!!

  5. I love baking with olive oil and this looks delectable!

  6. E' bellissima la tua torta, una vera prelibatezza. mi piace molto anche il secondo. Un abbraccio, buon pomeriggio Daniela.

  7. ce gâteau est des plus merveilleux j'aime beaucoup les saveurs qui s'y trouvent
    bonne soirée

  8. I love olive oil cakes and have only made one myself, with orange, so this cake with lemon has to be the BEST (I prefer lemons over oranges!). Where in the world did you find the lemon olive oil/ I'd love to try it!

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Roz - I highlighted Nudo's name on the blog post so you can click on it and get the website, but here's the url: http://www.nudo-italia.com/products/42

  11. Hi Linda,

    Well, don't both recipes sound divine! The cake is beautiful, and you did such a very cool job styling it. The Pop Art rocks, and the colors are perfect. It made me smile.

    I imagine the lemony taste and figs are a wonderful match. I have come to enjoy olive oil cakes over the last few years, having come quite a distance from my original "I'm not so sure of that" reaction. They have s moist, even texture that I find quite pleasing, plus remarkable keeping qualities overall.

    It is wise of you to have converted the measurements for American bakers. While weighing yields far more accurate measurements, and better, more reproducible results, still many home cooks do not own scales, and thus are left out in the cold when faced with ingredients expressed in weights. That is changing, and that can only be for the better. But still many home cooks rely on the conversions.

    I agree with you that the lemon in the olive oil is probably not shown off to its best advantage in the cake but I think you found the perfect way to highlight it in the fish recipe. That sounds like something Bart would just flip for. He remains our chef de cuisine, so I will have to show this to him. I think he could accomplish it easily, and I know he would like it. Thank you for the tip.

    As always, you have given us another wonderful post. Thanks for the read and for all the good ideas.

  12. I agree with you I probably wouldn't bake a cake with that olive oil but for fish and veggies I do love it. I recently made an olive oil cake with grapes and I loved the texture and crumb it creates which you captured so well in your photo. Love your artistic design, I only wish I was there to enjoy it with you!!

  13. This recipe sounds delicious, Linda, and so does that lemon olive oil!

  14. non conoscevo quell'olio,sembra delizioso! Bellissime ricette, amo i fichi !Buon weekend Linda, un abbraccio !

  15. I am keeping this in my inbox until I make it - also the flounder. Visited Floriole and loved everything I sampled. And I sampled a lot. A new olive oil store opened locally (2 actually!) and I will be trying their lemon olive oil. So far everything I tried has been grand. Love pop-art!

  16. Our fig tree did not do well this year :( It may know we are moving by the beginning of next year and leaving it behind with a neighbor.

    Both cake and flounder look fabulous! This looks like a very nice oil to add to the repertoire.

  17. this is a recipe that makes you go...ooooh. So beautiful.

  18. I love lemon but have never tried lemon olive oil. I will have to look for so I have an excuse to make this cake ;)

  19. Wilson's Vet just gave me a whole bag of figs from her yard. YAY.
    Love your pop art!