Olive oil cakes make me feel like a real health-nut. It is a small part of what draws me to them, mostly I like how they taste. This Gina DePalma recipe may be the best I have come across. The cake itself is made with a healthy dose of olive oil, almond meal, and some citrus. It is bright and beautiful on its own, but the glaze that DePalma suggests makes this one of my new favorite cakes. The brown butter glaze adds a richness that is the perfect compliment to the bright cake. Also, it is pretty.
Many of you will be planning brunches for this weekend, and this cake would be a sweet way to end the meal. It keeps well, and can easily be made a day in advance. Or, do as my mom would do and freeze it.
Thanks again to everyone for the continued comments, emails and tweets regarding the Saveur  win. It is very sweet, and encouraging. I always say I have the best readers, and you are proving me right yet again.
Remember to use an olive oil that makes sense in a cake, nothing too peppery. DePalma suggests lightly browned butter in her recipe, I got mine pretty dark and liked it that way.
Almond Olive Oil Cake with Brown Butter Glaze (adapted slightly from Gina DePalma )
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour or meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Grated zest of 1/4 a of a medium orange
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- For Glaze:
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- A few drops of fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly to break up the yolks. Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk it in very thoroughly. Add the olive oil and whisk until the mixture is a bit lighter in color and has thickened slightly, about 45-60 seconds. Whisk in the extracts and zest, followed by the orange juice.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until they are thoroughly combined; continue whisking until you have a smooth, emulsified batter, about 30 more seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake the cake for 30 to 45 minutes, rotating the cake pan halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning. The cake is done when it has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, springs back slightly when touched, and a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it cool completely on a rack.
When the cake is almost finished cooling, make the glaze. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small, heavy saucepan. When the bubbles subside, lower the heat and watch the butter carefully, swirling it in the pan occasionally to distribute the heat. When the butter begins to turn a light tan color and smells slightly nutty, turn off the heat and let the butter sit. It will continue to darken as it sits.
While the butter cools, sift the confectioner’s sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk until completely smooth but thick, then slowly whisk in the butter. Taste the glaze and add a few drops of lemon juice to balance the sweetness. Stir in the toasted almonds. Spread the almonds and glaze onto the top and sides of the cake and let it sit until set and dry.