This post marks Day 16 of Miss Ginsu's 2008 Advent Calendar. To find other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.
Compared to cookies or layered bars, or — heaven forbid — strudle, a basic cake is such a simple, lovely treat. Just a few steps. Just a little time in the oven. Just a few ingredients.
Cake is essentially just flour, butter, sugar and eggs, right? Well, as I discovered on last summer's foray to Rome, sometimes cake is flour, olive oil, sugar and eggs.
Today's recipe is a sunny, elegant Italian-style cake that's just the thing for cawfee tawk or teatime... but it comes together so quickly, I'd even serve it warm out of the oven as a special breakfast or brunch for holiday guests. It's so delicious, this may just be my new favorite cake.
Almond & Olive Oil Cake (Makes One 9" Cake)The first time I met an olive oil cake, it was a simple citrus-olive combination; absolutely delightful, but I think the emphasis on almonds makes it even more elegant.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp finely grated lemon, orange or tangerine zest
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional, for garnish)
Powdered sugar (optional, for garnish)
1. Heat the oven to 350°F and oil an 9" round or square cake pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and eggs until fluffy. Add the orange zest, vanilla, milk and olive oil.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Set pan on a wire rack to cool 20 minutes before turning the cake out onto the rack to cool completely. Top with toasted, sliced almonds and powdered sugar, if desired.
That said, I'm nut crazy, so if for some reason you're not quite so wild about almonds, it's a simple thing to leave them off the top and substitute an orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier) or swap vanilla extract for the almond extract.